The Gujarat High Court has proposed a ban on the social exclusion of women on the basis of their menstrual status at all public, private, and religious places.
The court was hearing a plea filed by activist Nirjhari Sinha Matter, post an incident at a college in Bhuj wherein over 60 female students were made to remove their undergarments to prove they weren't menstruating. The incident took place on February 14, 2020.
Counsel Megha Jani representing Nirjhari Sinha, argued that while menstruation is a natural phenomenon associated with every woman’s reproductive cycle, it continues to be a taboo and associated with myths. “She is, therefore, kept in isolation, excluded from the daily activities, not allowed to touch water, not allowed to cook, not allowed to touch vessels, remain in a separate earmarked place, and not visit temple in any religious ceremony or rituals,” the counsel said.
A division bench comprising Justice JB Pardiwala and Ilesh Vora said, “We are conscious of the fact that we are dealing with a very delicate issue and therefore, it is necessary for this court to hear all the respondents and other stakeholders."
“The aforesaid should not be construed as if this court has made up its mind one way or the other. A healthy and meaningful debate or deliberation is necessary in the present litigation,” the high court said.
The High Court now awaits a response from the state and the Centre on the matter by March-end.
*All pictures for representational purposes only.