The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked the city government and civic agencies to apprise it about the programmes they have undertaken or intend to take on spreading of education about menstrual hygiene to adolescent girls here in schools.
The court, while hearing a PIL seeking direction to provide access and education about menstrual hygiene to adolescent girls and free sanitary pads, also sought to know budgetary allocation for the purpose by the Central and Delhi governments.
It also asked civic agencies to inform it about the status of separate toilets for girls and boys in government and aided schools under their jurisdiction.
The court’s direction came on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a practicing advocates Setu Niket and Esha Mazumdar who contended that considering the increasing number of girl child dropouts from school, there was a need of a mechanism to educate school children on menstrual hygiene and providing free and compulsory sanitary pads under the Right to Education Act, 2009.
It is imperative that children of the age group of 10-14 years are sensitised about menstrual hygiene and every possible effort to help the girl child in continuing her education be made by the government, Mazumdar added.
During the hearing, the Central government told the court that without any demand, it has granted Rs 27 lakh to the Delhi government for the year 2017-18 for procurement of sanitary napkins.
The court asked Delhi government to examine the need of civic bodies to provide the funds for the purpose.
The South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC) said that in schools “the sanitary napkin is provided to needy in an emergency situation from Boy’s Fund at present”.
“No funds in this regard have been allocated by the Delhi government to the municipalities so far,” adding it has already written a letter to director of Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan (Universalization of Elementary Education Mission) to provide funds.
The PIL sought formulating a National Level Policy to establish a mechanism to provide education, sensitization and ensure availability of menstrual hygiene products to adolescent girls.
The court now posted the matter for January 23.