Taking a major step towards women menstrual hygiene, the Delhi High Court (HC) has issued a notice to the Government of India, Delhi Government, New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) and all Municipal Corporations of Delhi to ensure availability of sanitary napkins either for free or at subsidized rates, reports news agency ANI. Along with it, the HC also asked the authorities to include education on menstrual hygiene for schoolgirls in the syllabus. The orders were issued on Monday and the next date of hearing into the matter has been finalised on coming November 7, as per ANI.
The sanitary napkin, an essential for women during their menstruation, has been levied with 12 per cent Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Centre. This has led to protests in the country with many women activists and students coming out and demanding the withdrawal of the GST applied on the product. In the latest incident, students across colleges and universities of Delhi decided to pen down #Bleedwithoutfear on sanitary napkins and send a packet of it to the Finance Minister Arun Jaitley last week, as per The Indian Express report. A similar protest took place in Thiruvananthapuram where the news agency PTI reported that Students Federation of India (SFI), the students outfit of ruling CPI(M) had sent the napkins with the slogan ‘Bleed without fear, Bleed without tax’ written on them to Jaitley as a mark of protest for imposing GST on this women’s hygiene product. The student outfit had also organized protest programme on various college campuses across Kerala against the taxation on sanitary pads, as per the PTI report.
However, after the Delhi HC has taken the matter into consideration, it would be important to see what happen next into the matter of this women’s hygiene product. The court has announced the next date of hearing on November 7, 2017.