Lockdown: HC seeks response on sanitary napkin plea

Coronavirus lockdown: Bombay HC asks Maharashtra govt to respond on sanitary napkin plea

DH file photo

The Bombay High Court on Friday directed the Maharashtra government to respond to a petition seeking a direction to declare sanitary napkins as an essential commodity and for their supply to poor and needy women amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The petition, filed by law students Nikita Gore and Vaishnavi Gholave, raised concerns over the Central and state governments not implementing effective menstrual hygiene management, resulting in women and adolescent girls facing barriers.

"The Central and State governments have not paid any heed towards effective implementation of menstrual hygiene management, which consists of access to knowledge and information of safe menstruation, safe menstrual absorbents, water and hygiene infrastructure and so on," the plea said.

The plea said, in view of the COVID-19 outbreak and the following lockdown, a large number of migrants, daily wage labourers and poor persons, including children, adolescent girls and women, were suffering.

"While the Centre and state government were helping these persons with essential food items, they have failed to take care of girls and women by not providing menstrual hygiene articles like sanitary napkins and other medical facilities," the petition said.

The plea said women go through menstruation every month and in other to manage it in a hygienic way, basic facilities like soap, water and menstrual absorbent were a must, and if these were not available, then it would lead to bacterial infections in the urinary tracts and reproductive system.

The petition sought the court to direct the government and other authorities to ensure availability of free sanitary napkins, toilet and medical facilities to all poor and needy women during the lockdown period.

The petition sought supply and distribution of sanitary napkins under the Public Distribution System on par with other essential commodities, to needy persons, if not free, then at an affordable and reasonable price.

A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice K K Tated on Friday directed the state government to respond to the plea and posted it for further hearing next week.

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