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Bombay HC asks Maharashtra government, Centre to reply to PIL seeking GST exemption for sanitary pads

A public interest litigation filed by a Mumbai NGO Shetty Women Welfare Foundation said 88% of Indian women cannot afford sanitary pads

mumbai Updated: Jul 20, 2017 20:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Mumbai news,GST,sanitary pads
Mumbai NGO Shetty Women Welfare Foundation said women across the country would only be able to access basic menstrual hygiene products easily if there was such an exemption.(HT File Photo)

The Bombay high court issued notices to the state and the Union governments on Thursday, seeking their response to a public interest litigation (PIL) that says sanitary napkins must be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The governments have three weeks to reply.

The court was acting on a PIL filed by a Mumbai NGO Shetty Women Welfare Foundation, which said women across the country would only be able to access basic menstrual hygiene products easily if there was such an exemption.

In a plea filed in the high court last month, the NGO said 88% of Indian women cannot afford sanitary napkins. It argued that a tax of 12% levied on them from July 1, would render them unaffordable to a greater percentage of the population.

It said the Centre had exempted several products such as vermillion and bangles from GST and should thus reconsider taxing an essential item such as this.

“Instead of imposing heavy taxes on sanitary napkins, the government must take immediate steps to ensure better menstrual and reproductive health of women, which are rights according to Article 21 of the Constitution,” read the plea.

First Published: Jul 20, 2017 17:22 IST