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How The Manufacturing Activities Of Sanitary Napkins, Diapers Being Regulated?: Madras High Court Asks Centre, State Govt

Sparsh Upadhyay
4 Jun 2021 3:19 PM GMT
How The Manufacturing Activities Of Sanitary Napkins, Diapers Being Regulated?: Madras High Court Asks Centre, State Govt
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The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) earlier this week sought response from the Centre and the State Governments as to how they are regulating the manufacturing activities of sanitary napkins and diapers.The Bench of Justice T. S. Sivagnanam Justice S. Ananthi was hearing a Public Interest Litigation petition seeking making and enforcement of rules regarding the disclosure of...

The Madras High Court (Madurai Bench) earlier this week sought response from the Centre and the State Governments as to how they are regulating the manufacturing activities of sanitary napkins and diapers.

The Bench of Justice T. S. Sivagnanam Justice S. Ananthi was hearing a Public Interest Litigation petition seeking making and enforcement of rules regarding the disclosure of the ingredients for producing sanitary napkins and diapers which is being manufactured by the companies by considering the petitioner's representation.

The plea also sought direction upon the Central and State Governments, to make a standard test issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards mandatory for the companies manufacturing sanitary napkins and diapers.

It was the categorical submission of the petitioner that on account of the non-disclosure, it was not clear as to whether any harmful chemicals are used to improve the absorbent quality of the napkins and diapers.

The petitioner also brought down how the use of such chemicals would affect the health of the persons, who used the napkins and diapers.

Submissions made by the Counsel

The Counsel appearing for the petitioner drew the attention of this Court to legislation passed in the State of California, namely, the Menstrual Products Right to Know Act, 2020 and the legislation passed in the State of New York in 2019, namely, the Menstrual Products Right to Know Act, 2019. 

By referring to these two legislations, it was submitted that the intentionally added ingredients (in sanitary napkins and diapers) are bound to be disclosed and the consumer is entitled to know as to what are the inputs, which are used in the manufacture of the final products.

Bringing out all these aspects, the petitioner submitted his representation to the authorities.

The Petitioner has already published an article on the issue in an International Journal and has also secured certain information under Right to Information Act, 2005.

In the RTI reply, it was stated that the Government of India had announced the launching of Oxo-biodegradable Sanitary Napkin under "Pradan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) and napkins are available at the price of Rs.10/- for the pack of four napkins.

Further, it was stated that the napkins are being tested at the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) and the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) would follow the norms and regulations under Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) for quality testing of sanitary napkins.

The State Government submitted that there are schemes evolved by the State Government as well for distribution of sanitary napkins to the needy. 

Court's order

Noting that the petitioner had flagged a very important issue and that the Court was inclined to entertain the Writ Petition, as to ascertain what are the parameters have been placed and how the State and Central Governments are regulating the manufacturing activities of sanitary napkins and diapers.

Therefore, notices were issued to Centre and the State Government seeking time to get appropriate instructions in the matter.

The instructions have been directed to eb submitted in the form of countersigned by the appropriate authorities and the matter has been posted for further hearing on July 7, 2021.

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