The Maharashtra government has been asked by the Bombay High Court to see how the price of sanitary napkins can be reduced and how more awareness regarding their use can be spread.
A division bench comprising Justices N H Patil and N W Sambre stated the issue was an important one affecting half the population, and proactive steps are necessary.
The court made the observation during the hearing of a PIL filed by NGO Shetty Women Welfare Foundation, which has raised the issue of sanitary napkins being inaccessible to over 80 per cent of women, due to either lack of awareness or high prices.
The petition has also challenged the recent government move to levy 12 percent GST on sanitary napkins.
Court Suggests Indian Manufacturers To Increase Supply
The court has suggested that the government promote Indian manufacturers who can generate larger outputs, which will increase the supply thereby bringing down prices.
The bench noted that the first step was to create awareness and the next was to make ”the napkins available at a subsidised rate.”
It has also directed the government to see if guidelines promoting the use of napkins among rural women can be developed and sent to gram panchayats.
The judges noted that in order to tackle the issue of taxes under GST, it would be advisable if the Additional Solicitor General assisted the court, when it meets next after two weeks to continue hearing the matter.