In a landmark move, Gujarat High Court has proposed a prohibition of all laws and rules that ban menstruating women from entering places of worship, education or other institutions. The proposal, which is being seen as a win in the direction of social inclusion for women, was recently proposed by Gujarat HC in response to public interest litigation (PIL) following the disturbing incident when 68 students of a girls’ college in Gujarat were paraded through the hostel and made to strip in restrooms to prove they were not menstruating in February last year.
The incident had occurred in Shri Sahjanand Girls’ Institute (SSGI) in Bhuj, Kutch, when the girls were allegedly called out of their classes by the college principal and made to parade to the restroom after the rector complained some female students had broken the rules and entered the temple while on their period.
Responding to the PIL filed following the incident, a bench led by Justice J. B. Pardiwala and Justice Ilesh J. Vora gave out a 9-point set of guidelines for the Gujarat government as well as Shri Sahjanand Girls’ Institute to follow.
The guidelines apply to all private and public institutions in the state including places of education and worship, Live Law reported. In issuing the guidelines, the court underlined that all religions except Sikhism dub menstruating women as “ritually unclean”. The guidelines directed the state government to facilitate awareness about menstrual health and hygiene among stakeholders such as parents, teachers, health workers as well as adolescents and to use interactive mediums like radio shows to spread awareness.
Gujarat HC’s guidelines are being seen as a step in the direction of ending Period taboo and period poverty in the state.
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