Mumbai News

Bombay HC raps Maharashtra government over delay in framing policy on clean toilets in schools – India Today

Bombay High Court on Monday slammed the Maharashtra government over the delay in framing a policy on clean and hygienic toilets in government schools. Based on a report, the court observed that the condition of toilets in schools across Maharashtra was very bad and still there was no policy regarding the issue.

“Is the state government powerless to frame a policy? Are you (government) waiting for any auspicious day to do this?” asked the Bombay High Court.

A division bench of Justices Prasanna Varale and Sharmila Deshmukh were hearing a petition filed by two law students, Nikita Gore and Vaishnavi Gholave. The petition mentions the issue of poor and unhygienic washrooms and toilets for girls in government-aided schools.

The students raised concerns over the central and state governments not implementing effective menstrual hygiene management, resulting in women, and particularly adolescent girls, facing problems.

As per the court’s order in July this year, Maharashtra District Legal Services Authority (MDLSA) carried out a survey of schools in Mumbai city, suburbs and neighbouring districts and a report was submitted to the court on Monday (September 5). As per the report, 235 schools were surveyed, out of which the condition of toilets in 207 schools was found below standards.

After going through the report, the high court observed that the condition of toilets in schools was in a bad state. Justice Varale asked, “The report is about schools in urban areas like Mumbai suburbs. If this is the situation in urban areas, just imagine the situation in rural areas. What are the state government’s education officers doing? Is it not the duty of your (government) officers to carry out periodic checks?”

Additional government pleader B P Samant told the court that the government was creating awareness among students, parents, and school management on the issue. The court then asked about the duties of the government.

“Look at the realities of life. Is this the approach that the state government should adopt? This is a very sorry situation. This pains us,” Justice Varale said.

The bench directed the petitioners and the state government to peruse the report and posted the matter for further hearing after four weeks.

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