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High Court seeks Central and Delhi Government’s Reply on Menstrual Hygiene Education

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a practicing advocate Setu Niket told the bench that considering the increasing number of girl child drop outs from school

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Menstrual Hygiene Education., pads
High Court seeks Central and Delhi Government's Reply on Menstrual Hygiene Education. Wikimedia
  • The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a practicing advocate Setu Niket told the bench that considering the increasing number of girl child drop outs from school
  • The plea said that as per a survey conducted on the rate of school drop outs of girl child, it is highest at the age of puberty

New Delhi, July 17, 2017: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the central and Delhi government on a PIL seeking direction to provide access and education about menstrual hygiene to adolescent girls and free sanitary pads.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C. Hari Shankar sought a status report from the central government, Delhi government and the civic bodies by November 7 on the plea.

The bench sought various details about the existing scheme, if any, its implementation, the syllabus on menstrual hygiene and status of separate toilets for effective implementation and providing of sanitary pads.

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The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a practicing advocate Setu Niket told the bench that considering the increasing number of girl child drop outs from school, there was a need of a mechanism to educate school children on menstrual hygiene and providing free and compulsory sanitary pads under the Right to Education Act, 2009.

Advocate Esha Mazumdar, appearing for the petitioner, argued the government failed in its responsibility to provide education to the girl child “when she has to drop out of school after entering the age of puberty due to certain biological changes in the body and due to lack of sanitary products and the inability (due to lack of education or financial constraints) of her guardians”.

It is imperative that children of the age group of 10-14 years are sensitized about menstrual hygiene and every possible effort to help the girl child in continuing her education be made by the government, the advocate added.

The adolescent females enrolled in schools who come from poor backgrounds are generally not equipped and are neither educated by the parents about menstruation and menstrual hygiene and this lack of education increase the prevalence of unhygienic and unhealthy practices which increase abstinence and eventual dropping out from school, the plea stated.

The plea said that as per a survey conducted on the rate of school drop outs of girl child, it is highest at the age of puberty.

The PIL sought formulating a National Level Policy to establish a mechanism to provide education, sensitization and ensure availability of menstrual hygiene products to adolescent girls.

The petition said Kerala took the initiative this year to announce the state government’s “She Pad” scheme, which aimed to provide sanitary pads to all girl students.

As per news reports, Kerala has allocated Rs 30 crore for the project to provide sanitary napkins for girl students in all government schools, it added. (IANS)


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Aadhaar Data Breach Report Incorrect: High Court

Citing the top court's judgement, the petitioner said that when the state violates the constitutional rights of a citizen, courts may award compensation

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Aadhaar Card Logo. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) on Thursday told the Delhi High Court that reports regarding security breach of data related to Aadhaar is incorrect and misleading as the strongest encryption technology has been used to store data which is impossible to decrypt.

“The technology used is 2048-bit encryption, which is the strongest one and it is impossible to decrypt and extract any information even if enrolment packets were accessible during transit to the UIDAI data centre,” UIDAI told a bench of Justice S. Ravindra Bhat and Justice Prateek Jalan.

The bench was hearing a plea seeking exemplary damages for the losses caused due to leakage of Aadhaar data.

The plea was filed by Shamnad Basheer alleging that the dissemination of personal information of Aadhaar holders made it clear that the government is responsible for any breach of right to informational privacy.

E-Aadhaar card.

In an affidavit, the government agecy said that Aadhaar data is fully secured at all times and for further strengthening of security and privacy of data, security audits are conducted on regular basis, and all possible steps are taken to make the data safer and protected.

It further added that there are multiple layers of security at physical level in UIDAI data centres and is being managed by armed Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) personnel round-the-clock.

“The technical architecture of Aadhaar has been structured in such a way, so as to ensure clear data verification, authentication and de-duplication, while ensuring a high level of privacy and information security,” the UIDAI said.

“UIDAI has taken all necessary safeguards, starting from providing standardised software that encrypts the entire data even before saving it to any disk; protecting data using tamper-proofing; identifying every operator in all and every enrolment; and identifying every one of the thousands of machines using an unique registration process, which ensures every encrypted data is tracked,” read the reply copy filed by the UIDAI.

Countering Basheer’s claim, the agency also said that the petitioner is trying to re-agitate the same issues which have attained finality before the Supreme Court and therefore the present petition deserves to be dismissed with costs.

Aadhaar Card. Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

It said that the petition is based on a mere assumption that the general public is likely to be aggrieved.

“In the entire petition, there is not even a mention as to how the petitioner is aggrieved by the actions of the UIDAI and how his constitutional rights have been violated to entitle him to damages claimed by him,” the UIDAI said.

Adding that there is no merit in the application, UIDAI, in its reply, said: “The alleged facts (leakage of Aadhaar data) on the basis of which the petitioner has filed the plea are unsubstantiated statements and the information relating to the Aadhaar scheme has been grossly misreported and interpolated to mislead this court.

“The petitioner has pivoted his entire case around the misleading and unverified reports in the media regarding security breach of data related to Aadhaar, which is entirely denied as incorrect and misinformed.”

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The agency requested the court to dismiss the plea with cost as the petitioner has no locus standi to file this application.

The petitioner has said his constitutional rights have been violated due to the negligence of UIDAI.

Citing the top court’s judgement, the petitioner said that when the state violates the constitutional rights of a citizen, courts may award compensation.

Basheer has also requested the court to appoint an independent committee comprising multiple experts to investigate the scope, extent of breaches and the magnitude of harm caused due to data leak. (IANS)