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HC raps MCD for not providing loos for women

The court directed the corporation to take immediate steps to construct more such facilities, reports Harish V Nair.

india Updated: Dec 11, 2006 20:27 IST

The Delhi High Court on Monday slammed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for not providing adequate number of public urinals for women. The court directed the corporation to take immediate steps to construct more such facilities.

The bench was hearing a PIL on the poor sanitary conditions in the capital. The MCD came under fire after a report by a court-appointed committee revealed that out of 3,192 public toilets in the capital only 132 were for women.

A Division Bench comprising of Justices Swantanter Kumar and Justice GS Sistani has summoned MCD's Director for Environment management and services to appear in the court on Tuesday and give an explanation in this regard.

Ashok Aggarwal, the counsel for the petitioner and also a member of the court-appointed committee which conducted the survey told the court that they were shocked to know that there were no public toilets for women in Rohini, Najafgarh, Narela, West Zone, Karol Bagh and Civil Line zones.

The report said South Zone had the largest number of such toilets (49) followed by City Zone (40). Sadar Paharganj has 7, Shahdara North (2) and Shahdara South (5). Aggarwal urged the court to issue a direction to the MCD to immediately construct adequate number of well-equipped and maintained urinals in every zone for women.

"This inadequacy is a violation of fundamental and human right of women as guaranteed to them under Articles 14 (equality) and 21 (right to life) of the constitution", he said.

The Hindustan Times recently published a series of articles highlighting that when it comes to answering the nature's call when on the move, options before men are limited, and for women they are even fewer.

"Men never even bother to hunt for a toilet - they merely take refuge behind a bush or a corner wall. But what are we women supposed to do? There are not enough toilets for women. The only option that we have is to find a decent restaurant or shopping store nearby and to use the facility there, pretending to be customers," Ritika Singh, a college student told HT.

The High Court pulled up the MCD on the sanitation issue for the second time in a month. Blaming the corporation for the sanitation mess in the capital, a single bench of Justice Gita Mittal had on November 4 said, "Sanitation is undoubtedly a basic service which is a right which must be ensured to every citizen. Sanitation is a felt need while hygiene is important to health. This is a service which needs to be imperatively maintained at the community level."

First Published: Dec 11, 2006 20:27 IST