Pooja Chaudhuri Chaudhuri
The only fiction I enjoy is in books and movies.
On Friday, a family court in Rajasthan’s Bhilwara district granted divorce to a woman as her matrimonial home had no toilet. The court ruled that this amounted to ‘cruelty’.
The court commented on ‘mental torture’ that women have to deal with while going to defecate in the open in the absence of toilets in their homes.
In 2015, the woman, who was married to a family in Atun village in Bhilwara district in 2011, moved a divorce petition to the family court on the grounds that her husband’s house lacked any toilet.
In her application, the woman said that she informed her in-laws about the problems she had to face while defecating in the open, but they paid no heed to her demands.
Due to the absence of a toilet in her marital home, she was living at her parent’s house for the last two years.
Justice Rajendra Kumar Sharma said that women forced to defecate in the open even in the 21st century is a disgrace to the society.
“Has it ever pained us that our mothers and sisters have to go to defecate in the open? Women in villages have to wait for dark to venture out in order to relieve and as a result has to bear with physical pain,” Justice Sharma said in the judgment, as reported by Hindustan Times.
“It is an irony that people who spend a lot of money on alcohol, tobacco and mobile phones, don’t have toilets in their homes,” the judgment further added.
The family of the petitioner was asked to provide evidence of toilet in their house which they could not produce.
On 2 October 2014, the Narendra Modi government had launched its Clean India, or more popularly known as Swachh Bharat, campaign.
While the main goal of the campaign was to engage people in cleanliness drives across the country, it also focused on making India open defecation free (ODF).
The government’s Swacch Bharat statistics currently put the percentage of Open Defecation Free (ODF) coverage in Rajasthan at 60.98%. Furthermore, in Bhilwara district, half of the households do not have toilets.
The Rajasthan family court’s order is highly appreciable. It is cruel to expect women to defecate in the women, especially when they are menstruating.
The Logical Indian community, while welcoming the court’s decision, urges the government to undertake efficient steps to make the country open defecation free.
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