Patna High Court: The Division Bench of Sanjay Karol, CJ and S. Kumar, J., dealt with an issue of vital public importance and significance, i.e. non-existence of toilet for girls in colleges of Patna.
On 22-11-2019, the High Court had highlighted in its order that the functionaries of the State were apathetic in not bothering to cater to the needs of the girl students in various educational institutions. That even though funds were available, but there was no coordination between intra and inter-departments. The Court had directed the state to take appropriate action, ensuring speedy construction of toilets in all the Government colleges/Universities in Patna town.
The Bench observed that in Patna University, 528 toilets were functional; while in various other constituents, affiliated, minority, B.Ed. And government Colleges, there were 877 toilets out of which 24 + 29 were non-functional and 376 more toilets were required. As per the stand taken by State, the toilets were to be constructed outside the campus of the girl’s college/school whereas according to the Petitioner, it ought to be within the campus itself.
However, again on 09-01-2020, the Bench directed the Vice-Chancellor of both the Universities, namely, Patliputra University, Patna as also Patna University to submit details regarding whether any toilet, more so for ladies, stand established within the campus of the institution, if not, whether toilet stand established outside the campus of the institution, having exclusive excess to the students as also the teachers of the respective institutions and whether sanitisation facilities and other conveniences were available or not. Noticing that several institutions within the municipal limits of Patna, were not having any infrastructure of public conveniences i.e. public toilets for ladies within their respective campuses the Bench directed to make alternative arrangement within the campus.
Amicus Curiae, Archana Sinha presented a chart before the Court indicating the infrastructure available in the educational institutions, based on the affidavits filed by the Universities. The Bench constituted a committee of three Lady Advocates comprising of Adv. Archana Sinha, Adv. Anukriti Jaipuriyar and Adv. Amrisha Srivastava to visit each one of the Institutions referred to in the chart, for ascertaining the exact status of the existence and functionality of infrastructure, specifically, with respect to:
- Existence of Ladies’ Toilets in 20 educational institutions affiliated with Patna University, 10 educational institutions affiliated with Patliputra University and 31 Government Schools;
- Availability of sanitary napkins vending and disposable machines.
The Bench further directed that each committee member would be entitled to a sum of Rs. 20,000 to be paid jointly by the Patna University, Patliputra University and the Government of Bihar. The Committee was directed to submit the report within a week and the matter was listed for further hearing on 23-03-2021.[Hindi News Daily Hindustan Patna Live v. State of Bihar, 2021 SCC OnLine Pat 495, decided on 09-03-2021]
Kamini Sharma, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
Appearance before the Court by:
For the Petitioner/s: Amicus Curiae Shambhu Sharan Singh, Amicus Curiae Archana Sinha,
For the P.M.C.: Adv. Prasoon Sinha
For the State: AAG-4 Anjani Kumar
For the P.P.U.: Sr. Adv. P.K. Verma, Adv. Dr. Anand Kumar, Adv. Viveka Nand Singh, Adv. Ajay Bihari Sinha, Adv. Rakesh Kumar Singh
For Patna Universities: Adv. Sandeep Kumar