The Delhi High Court Friday asked the AAP government and the municipal bodies to keep providing sanitary pads free of cost to school-going girls as also to those who have dropped out and continue with their awareness programmes and schemes for promoting menstrual hygiene.
A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar noted that the authorities were providing sanitary pads free of cost to girls in government schools and to those who had dropped out, and said there was no reason to further monitor the issue which was raised in a PIL.
"We expect the respondent to continue providing sanitary napkins for free, continue with the awareness programs and also schemes like UDAAN," it said.
The bench further said if the existing schemes or policies were to be replaced, then it should be by "better policies" for the girls.
The direction and observations of the court came after the Delhi government, represented by its additional standing counsel Sanjoy Ghose, told the bench that it was providing sanitary napkins free of cost to girls in the schools run by it.
Ghose also told the court that in its schools the toilets for girls have sanitary pad dispensing units.
Apart from that, the Directorate of Education has issued a circular asking all the counsellors in its schools to interact with the girls and spread awareness on the issue of menstrual hygiene, he said.
Ghose also told the court that under the central government's menstrual hygiene scheme, the Delhi government was providing sanitary pads at a subsidised rate of Rs 6 per pad to out of school girls.
The Delhi government also claimed, on affidavit, that it was providing sanitary napkins free of cost in packs of 10 to out of school girls under its UDAAN scheme.
The municipal corporations told the court the schools run by them are providing the pads free of cost to the girls when they need it and they were also carrying out training and awareness programs.
The central government said education was a state subject and its role was only to provide finance for the various schemes and programs to the concerned department to be used for the benefit of girls in schools.
After taking note of the steps being taken by the authorities, the court disposed of the PIL by advocate Setu Niket, who had sought directions to the Centre, the Delhi government and civic bodies to establish a mechanism to provide education on menstruation and menstrual hygiene in all schools here.
The petition had sought a direction to the authorities to ensure that menstrual hygiene products were made available to adolescent girls in schools free-of-cost or at subsidised rates.
It had also sought the establishment of a mechanism to provide education to girls aged 11-14 years about menstrual hygiene and safeguards, and access to trained female teachers or health counsellors in schools on a weekly or a monthly basis for imparting education on the issue.
The plea had said it was imperative to sensitise children in the 10-14 age group about menstrual hygiene and every possible effort should be made by the state to help girls continue with their education.