Menstrual Hygiene For Girls: Stating that menstrual hygiene is of immense importance, the Supreme Court today asked the Central government to formulate standard operating procedures (SOPs) and develop a model for all state and Union Territories (UTs) in connection with menstrual hygiene for girls studying in schools.
The Union Health and Family Welfare Secretary has been appointed as the nodal officer by the bench, comprising of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala, to coordinate with all the states and UTs. The bench said the data will be collected by the nodal officer to develop a national policy.
During the hearing in the matter, the bench said the government should engage with all stakeholders for menstrual hygiene in schools. The bench said that this should be implemented in both the government and government-aided schools, and leeway should be given to states and UTs to modify the scheme as per their local needs.
Bring on record menstrual hygiene management strategies, Says Supreme Court
The apex court has directed all states and UTs to bring on record their menstrual hygiene management strategies and plans and also noted that the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare, Education, and Jal Shakti have schemes for menstrual hygiene.
The top court directed the Centre to file an updated status report by the end of July.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, said different ministries have guidelines and schemes dedicated to improving access to menstrual hygiene for young and adolescent girls. She stressed that the responsibility of providing health care services lies with state governments as public health is a state subject.
The Health Ministry, in an affidavit, said that public health is a state subject and state governments are responsible for providing healthcare services.
The top court has directed all states and Union Territories (UTs) to make a provision for ensuring the availability of low-cost good quality sanitary pads, vending machines in schools.