The Bombay High Court rapped the Maharashtra government for its inaction on taking effective and adequate steps to implement menstrual hygiene management (MHM) in government-aided schools.
A division bench of Chief Justice Dipankar Datta and Justice MS Karnik was irked after the government sought additional time.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation filed by two law students – Nikita Gore and Vaishnavi Gholave – pointing out that the central and state government were not effectively implementing MHM resulting in women and particularly adolescent girls facing barriers.
They had submitted additional affidavits highlighting unclean and unhygienic washrooms and toilets in the schools for girls in government-aided schools. The additional affidavit was filed after conducting a survey in schools located in 16 towns of 7 districts across the State of Maharashtra.
Additional Government Pleader BV Samant informed the court that after receiving the additional affidavit, their officers had taken immediate action and got those toilets cleaned. He further said that the officers also came up with remedial measures which were highlighted in a report which the government decided to implement across the State.
On Monday, the report was submitted concerning only seven schools. The report, which was dated July 24, was submitted to the court during the hearing which further irked the judges.
“What does the executive think of us? Are we like little kids that you can give lollipop and we will calm down?” said CJ Datta.
The court then asked counsels for the petitioners, Abhinav Chandrachud and Vinod Sangvikar, to give a permanent suggestion.
“We are sceptical this position (clean toilets) will remain. It (the situation of toilets) will change within a month, and then things will go back to the way they were,” the Court said.
The court also asked the Maharashtra District Legal Services Authority (MDLSA) to supervise the conditions.
“What we propose to do is, direct all DLSAs to place surprise inspection in 15 such schools in each district falling within the principal seat and place their report before us. We will start with districts (11 districts in all) within the jurisdiction of principal seat,” CJ Datta ordered.
The HC has kept the PIL for hearing after August 15.