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State Cannot Ignore Distribution Of Sanitary Napkins To Adolescent School Going Girls During Second Wave Of Covid-19 : Karnataka HC

Mustafa Plumber
1 Jun 2021 3:16 AM GMT
State Cannot Ignore Distribution Of Sanitary Napkins To Adolescent School Going Girls During Second Wave Of Covid-19 : Karnataka HC
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Observing that the "We appreciate that the State health department is focussing its attention on various aspects of Covid-19 (second wave). However, we do not think that SUCHI scheme could be ignored as such," the Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to ensure that all efforts are made for proper implementation of the scheme.A division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna...

Observing that the "We appreciate that the State health department is focussing its attention on various aspects of Covid-19 (second wave). However, we do not think that SUCHI scheme could be ignored as such," the Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the State government to ensure that all efforts are made for proper implementation of the scheme.

A division bench of Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice Hanchate Sanjeevkumar said "This is a scheme which is conceptualised by state government for the benefit of adolescent girls in order to ensure their attendance in schools and in order to also ensure their health, hygiene and privacy. In the circumstance while we understand that the schedule submitted to this court is not complied by the health department so far as no meeting is held in April and no administrative approval has been given for procurement in May. We direct such a meeting of the technical committee, shall be convened on or before June 15 and approval for procurement shall be given on or before June 30 and within 90 day thereafter procurement shall be made."

Under the scheme sanitary napkins are distributed to adolescent girls studying in schools and staying in hostels between the age group of 10 to 19 years. A total of 17,06,933 adolescent girls are beneficiaries of the scheme in the state. However, during years 2019-20, 20-21, procurement of sanitary napkins to be distributed to adolescent girls was not made on account of financial constraint.

The state government had earlier filed a memo informing the court that by the end of April 2021 the technical committee would be meeting and in the month of May 2021, the administrative approval will be sought and within 90 days thereafter the procurement shall be made.

Today, the government counsel informed the court that due to the second wave of Covid-19, government officers were not attending office and thus the technical committee meeting could not be held. To which Justice Nagarathna said "You have to have the meeting in June and administrative approval shall be taken in June and 90 days thereafter procurement should be done. Doing online meetings (zoom meeting) is easy." She added "At home today I took a class for judicial officers at the judicial Academy and I came, it is a matter of will. You have to take help from technology, but you have to implement the SUCHI scheme."

The court also reiterated that "We are constrained to issue a aforesaid time schedule to ensure that SUCHI scheme is not given a go by, while the health dept is attending to issues arising on account of the Covid-19 pandemic (second wave). It is necessary to reiterate that SUCHI scheme for adolescent girls for the age group between 10 to 19 years, is in order to ensure that such girls don't miss out attendance in schools on their menstruation days and in order to ensure their health and hygiene and thereby attendance of girls in schools."

The direction was given during the hearing of a petition filed by ANTI CORRUPTION COUNCIL OF INDIA. The court has directed the state government to file a status report on the aforesaid directions by July 1. On the next date it will consider the issue of infrastructure to be made available to schools.

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