The Karnataka High Court has directed the state government to stick to the schedule it set for procuring sanitary napkins under the Shuchi Scheme for the fiscal year 2021-22, stating that a shortage of hygiene products should not prevent girls from attending school on menstruating days.
Justices BV Nagarathna and JM Khazi issued the order in response to a plea filed by the Anti-Corruption Council of India in 2018 requesting strict enforcement of the Shuchi Scheme.
"The plan of action under SHUCHI SCHEME shall be implemented by the State for adolescent girls between the age group of 10-19 years, as the same is an aid to the empowerment of such adolescent girls particularly residing in rural and remote places, traveling from the villages to the Taluk headquarters or District headquarters for their education. They ought not to miss attendance in the school on certain days of the month on account of lack of effective hygiene products being available to them on certain days of the month," said the bench, reported Live Law.
"In addition, if separate toilets are provided to girl students in Government and aided schools, it would be enhancing their health and privacy. As a result, it would ensure full attendance of the adolescent girls in the schools and their right to education would be fulfilled," it added.
The state government, in a memo filed with the court, said that the technical committee would be meeting by the end of May 2021. The administrative approval will be obtained and the procurement will be completed within 90 days after the process.
The Additional Government Advocate also told the bench that if schools are closed, community-based door-to-door outreach would be conducted by health workers to ensure beneficiaries get access to necessary hygiene supplies. However, if the schools reopen, hygiene products will be distributed to teenage girls in the schools themselves.
The state government has been asked to file a status report on May 31, with regard to the implementation of the scheme which benefits over 17 lakh adolescent girls in the state.
Also Read: A Reality Check Of Menstruation In Rural India