Separate Toilets For Adolescent Girls And Provisions Of Sanitary Napkins Are Instances Of Empowerment Of Girl Child : Karnataka High Court

first_imgNews UpdatesSeparate Toilets For Adolescent Girls And Provisions Of Sanitary Napkins Are Instances Of Empowerment Of Girl Child : Karnataka High Court Mustafa Plumber1 April 2021 6:33 AMShare This – xThe Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the state government to file by April 16, a status report with regard to the implementation of Shuchi scheme and to state as to when the administrative approvals for procurement of sanitary napkins/pads, as proposed for the year 2021-22, shall be secured. Under the scheme sanitary napkins are distributed to adolescent girls studying in…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Karnataka High Court on Thursday directed the state government to file by April 16, a status report with regard to the implementation of Shuchi scheme and to state as to when the administrative approvals for procurement of sanitary napkins/pads, as proposed for the year 2021-22, shall be secured. Under the scheme sanitary napkins are distributed to adolescent girls studying in schools and staying in hostels between the age group of 10 to 19 years. A total of 17,06,933 adolescent girls are beneficiaries of the scheme in the state. However, during years 2019-20, 20-21, procurement of sanitary napkins to be distributed to adolescent girls was not made on account of financial constraint. A division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice J.M.Khazi observed “Providing separate toilets for girls and hygiene by way of providing sanitary napkins to adolescent girls, is an instance of empowerment. If you want to empower young women and young girls, provide these facilities.” In its order the bench noted “Article 21-A of the Constitution, is a Fundamental Right of providing free and compulsory education to children between the age of 6 to 14 years. It is needless to observe the said Fundamental Right would also cover adolescent girls between the age of 6 to 14 years who have attained puberty and who would be the beneficiaries of Shuchi scheme.” It added “In our view provision of separate toilets for adolescent girls in schools and provisions of sanitary napkins to such adolescent girls on regular basis are all instance of not only empowerment of girl child but also a step in implementation of Article 21-A, in so far as girls between age of 6 to 14 years are concerned.” The court appreciated the state government scheme by saying “The Shuchi scheme to be implemented for adolescent girls between the age of 10 to 19 years, it is beyond the age of 14 years, therefore must be appreciated. As the state government intends to extend the scheme to a larger number of beneficiaries than what is provided under Article 21-A of constitution. As that Article being a fundamental right is restricted to children between age 6 to 14 years.” However, it observed “If the state government intends to empower the girl child, vis-a-vis her Right to Education, it can also be read as part of Article 21 of the Constitution. Such empowerment must take into consideration basic and essential aspects such as separate toilets for adolescent girls and implementation of Shuchi scheme in its true letter and spirit.” The bench also cited examples of children attending schools in rural areas who have to attend school sometimes by travelling from villages to taluka levels or there is one school for a group of villages and hence from village to another village. It said “On certain days of month the girl child would require the benefit of the shuchi scheme and if the same is implemented it will really empower the child so as not to miss the school on certain days of month.” It added “In addition if seperate toilets are provided for adolescent girls that will not only be another aspect of empowerment but also maintain their health and hygiene and consequently result in their full attendance in the schools as a result of which their Right To Education, would be fulfilled.” During the hearing the bench orally said “It may look very trivial but it means a lot to these girl children.” As per a survey report submitted by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority carried out in association with National Law School of India university in 2019, of 889 schools in the state indicated that out of 889 schools 63 percent of schools have separate toilets for girls, out of which 82 percent are functional and 32 percent don’t have separate toilets for girls. Additional Government Advocate submitted that the address of the 889 schools will have to be firstly ascertained; it is not known whether they are part of 999 schools in respect of which infrastructure facilities are being provided or enhanced as per status report submitted on March 17. Accordingly the court directed the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority to make available the address of 889 schools which were inspected by the said authority so that the same could be considered and ascertained as to whether state govt has taken steps to provide infrastructural facilities in those 889 schools, including the facilities of separate toilets for girls/boys. Provision of electricity connection, kitchen facilities of midday meal, drinking water facility, etc.” The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by ANTI CORRUPTION COUNCIL OF INDIA. The petition filed in the year 2018 had prayed for issuance of a writ of mandamus or directions to the respondents to conduct physical inspection of schools and to file reports. Further, direct the respondents to provide adequate infrastructure and facilities to students, teachers and staff in Government Aided Schools. Also direct respondents to conduct regular health check-up programmes for students in Government Schools. Some vaccination should be provided free of cost to poor and downtrodden students. Moreover, for strict implementation of the Shuchi Scheme on funding the government schools with supply of sanitary napkins.Next Storylast_img read more