Municipal corporations face Mumbai HC wrath over failure to build toilets
The Bombay High Court reprimanded the Maharashtra municipal corporations and district councils for neglecting to comply with the commands of the court to build clean and safe public toilets for women. The bench ordered all municipal corporations to submit their affidavits on the next date of hearing on 22 April. The court said that the women have the right to live with dignity.
Bombay-HC asks corporations to devise schemes to provide toilets
The Bombay High Court asked all the Maharashtra municipal corporations to formulate plans in their respective areas to give safe and clean toilets for women. The court directed the civic organizations to rope in NGOs to assure that the toilets are "inspected and maintained regularly." Further, the HC allowed the corporations to charge a reasonable fee for the service.
Court expands PIL scope: All corporations to build toilets
In 2014, an NGO 'Milun Saryajani' had filed a PIL seeking a direction to the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) to provide toilets for women. Deeming the matter important, the judges later expanded the scope of the PIL to cover all civic bodies and not just PMC.
Bombay HC aks civic bodies to provide women clean public toilets
While hearing a PIL on the issue of lack of public toilet facilities for women in Maharashtra, the Bombay HC said that "a woman has the right to have a safe and clean toilet at all convenient places". It issued guidelines to all civic corporations in Maharashtra to be implemented at the soonest. The civic bodies were also asked to file compliance reports.
HC lays down guidelines for the corporations
Besides the construction of toilets, the HC had asked the corporations to ensure "supply of water and electricity, cleanliness, security, tampon and sanitary napkin dispensers and disposal bins, provision for the disabled, cleaning equipment, signs indicating the location of public washrooms, etc."
MCGM submits its compliance report to HC
In its compliance report, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) said that it had set up a committee which had devised a plan to provide an adequate number of toilets for women. It said that a budget of Rs.5 crore had been set aside for e-toilets. Moreover, 90 toilets had been constructed in 2015 and permissions for 48 more had been sought.
Municipal corporations and their lack of action
The Bombay HC bench chided the corporations for not taking the matter of women's health seriously. The court said that of the recommended 48 toilet blocks to be built in Mumbai, only 14 have been constructed so far. There had been 'zero compliance' in Navi Mumbai. Furthermore, in Ulhasnagar municipal corporation, instead of building new toilets, the existing ones had been demolished.