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Sanitary napkin distribution stopped in Delhi gov’t schools, HC expresses disappointment

Court holds that cancellation of tender is not sufficient reason to discontinue the facility; issues notice to Delhi government

Sabrangindia 25 May 2022

Sanitary napkins

On May 23, 2022, the Delhi High Court expressed displeasure over Delhi government for discontinuing distribution of sanitary napkins to girl students of government and government-aided schools. The Court held that mere absence of a running contract is not a good reason to discontinue such an important facility.

According to LiveLaw, the Bench stated, “Mere absence of a running contract is not sufficient to discontinue social measure of the kind noticed above and the Delhi government should evolve a policy to deal with a situation whenever an existing contract lapses its time or is terminated.”

The Division Bench presided by Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Dutta sought response of the Government of NCT Delhi in a Writ Petition [Writ Petition no. 7947 of 2022 – Social Jurist v/s. Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors.], seeking restoration of the facility of sanitary napkins for girl students in all government-run schools.

The bench took cognisance of a plea filed by a civil rights group named Social Jurist, and issued notice asking the government to file the response within four weeks. Accordingly, the matter has been kept for next hearing on July 6, 2022.

About the Petition

The Petition was filed in the Delhi High Court by a civil rights group Social Jurist through Advocate Ashok Agarwal and Advocate Kumar Utkarsh, seeking the restoration of sanitary napkin facility for girl students in government schools.

The Petition states that the Department of Expenditure of Delhi government had adopted the scheme named Kishori Yojna under which girl students enrolled in its schools will be provided sanitary napkins to maintain personal hygiene and general health in addition to eliminating obstacles in their studies.

The Petition further states that the distribution of sanitary napkins was discontinued in January 2021. It further added that the restoration of this facility is critical for girl students' personal hygiene and overall health, as its absence has a negative impact on their study and attendance.

The Petition also stated that the letter was also written in this regard, by the All India Parents Association (AIPA) to the Chief Minister of the Delhi government on May 13, 2022, requesting for immediate restoration of this facility.

The Petition further stated that not providing sanitary napkins is irrational, unreasonable, and arbitrary. It is in violation of girl students' fundamental right to education, as guaranteed by Articles 14, 21, and 21-A of the Indian Constitution, as well as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, and the Delhi School Education Act, 1973.

Arguments made by both sides

Advocate Ashok Agarwal and Advocate Kumar Utkarsh representing the Petitioners, argued that the government of Delhi was earlier providing the facility of sanitary napkins, but had discontinued the same since January 2021.

It was further argued that the Delhi Government has no justification for its act of discontinuing the facility of providing sanitary napkins to the girl students, which are very much needed for the hygiene, health and education of the girl students.  

Advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi representing the Delhi government, appeared on advance notice and had apprised the Court that the facility was discontinued as the previous tender had been cancelled. Now, as the new tender has been issued and the process is likely to be finalized by July, before the resumption of school session after the summer break.

Court’s Observation

The Bench observed that such discontinuation of such an important facility is causing problems to girl students. The Bench also questioned how a welfare measure like this can stop, only because the tender issued was cancelled.

As reported by Live Law, the bench said it is always open to the government to make procurement at approved rates on GeM portal, an e-market place hosted by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, where common user goods and services can be procured.

The order may be read here: 

Related:

Karnataka: Hindu Janajagruti focuses on ‘Bible in classrooms’, after hijab controversy

School’s duty to ensure minor girls are not shackled by religious practices: CDC in Hijab ban case

Hijab controversy now hits schools!

Sanitary napkin distribution stopped in Delhi gov’t schools, HC expresses disappointment

Court holds that cancellation of tender is not sufficient reason to discontinue the facility; issues notice to Delhi government

Sanitary napkins

On May 23, 2022, the Delhi High Court expressed displeasure over Delhi government for discontinuing distribution of sanitary napkins to girl students of government and government-aided schools. The Court held that mere absence of a running contract is not a good reason to discontinue such an important facility.

According to LiveLaw, the Bench stated, “Mere absence of a running contract is not sufficient to discontinue social measure of the kind noticed above and the Delhi government should evolve a policy to deal with a situation whenever an existing contract lapses its time or is terminated.”

The Division Bench presided by Acting Chief Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Sachin Dutta sought response of the Government of NCT Delhi in a Writ Petition [Writ Petition no. 7947 of 2022 – Social Jurist v/s. Government of NCT of Delhi & Ors.], seeking restoration of the facility of sanitary napkins for girl students in all government-run schools.

The bench took cognisance of a plea filed by a civil rights group named Social Jurist, and issued notice asking the government to file the response within four weeks. Accordingly, the matter has been kept for next hearing on July 6, 2022.

About the Petition

The Petition was filed in the Delhi High Court by a civil rights group Social Jurist through Advocate Ashok Agarwal and Advocate Kumar Utkarsh, seeking the restoration of sanitary napkin facility for girl students in government schools.

The Petition states that the Department of Expenditure of Delhi government had adopted the scheme named Kishori Yojna under which girl students enrolled in its schools will be provided sanitary napkins to maintain personal hygiene and general health in addition to eliminating obstacles in their studies.

The Petition further states that the distribution of sanitary napkins was discontinued in January 2021. It further added that the restoration of this facility is critical for girl students' personal hygiene and overall health, as its absence has a negative impact on their study and attendance.

The Petition also stated that the letter was also written in this regard, by the All India Parents Association (AIPA) to the Chief Minister of the Delhi government on May 13, 2022, requesting for immediate restoration of this facility.

The Petition further stated that not providing sanitary napkins is irrational, unreasonable, and arbitrary. It is in violation of girl students' fundamental right to education, as guaranteed by Articles 14, 21, and 21-A of the Indian Constitution, as well as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, and the Delhi School Education Act, 1973.

Arguments made by both sides

Advocate Ashok Agarwal and Advocate Kumar Utkarsh representing the Petitioners, argued that the government of Delhi was earlier providing the facility of sanitary napkins, but had discontinued the same since January 2021.

It was further argued that the Delhi Government has no justification for its act of discontinuing the facility of providing sanitary napkins to the girl students, which are very much needed for the hygiene, health and education of the girl students.  

Advocate Santosh Kumar Tripathi representing the Delhi government, appeared on advance notice and had apprised the Court that the facility was discontinued as the previous tender had been cancelled. Now, as the new tender has been issued and the process is likely to be finalized by July, before the resumption of school session after the summer break.

Court’s Observation

The Bench observed that such discontinuation of such an important facility is causing problems to girl students. The Bench also questioned how a welfare measure like this can stop, only because the tender issued was cancelled.

As reported by Live Law, the bench said it is always open to the government to make procurement at approved rates on GeM portal, an e-market place hosted by Directorate General of Supplies and Disposals (DGS&D) under Ministry of Commerce and Industry, where common user goods and services can be procured.

The order may be read here: 

Related:

Karnataka: Hindu Janajagruti focuses on ‘Bible in classrooms’, after hijab controversy

School’s duty to ensure minor girls are not shackled by religious practices: CDC in Hijab ban case

Hijab controversy now hits schools!

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