No toilet for women in Nilgiris court complex: SC lists plea in first week of July

The Supreme Court on Monday listed a plea moved by the Women’s Lawyers Association of Nilgiris (WLAN) about the lack of toilet facilities for women in a court complex at Tamil Nadu’s Ooty after the summer vacation.

A vacation bench of Justices Aniruddha Bose and Rajesh Bindal took on record a report filed by the registrar general of the Madras High Court, giving details of the facilities available in the court complex.

The bench recorded the submissions of the WLAN’s counsel that their grievances have been addressed.

“As of now, the petitioner association does not have any grievances, let the matter be listed before the appropriate bench in the first week of July,” the court said.

The top court is scheduled to re-open after the summer vacation on July 3.

It had earlier directed the Madras High Court registry to file a detailed report on the measures taken by it to address the lack of toilets for women lawyers in a recently inaugurated combined court complex in Ooty.

On June 9, the apex court said an earlier report of the high court’s registrar general did not explain in detail about the facilities for women lawyers in the new court complex and as to whether there was any shrinkage of such facilities that were available earlier.

The bench had then asked the high court registry to file a report that would be perused by it on Monday.

“Let a detailed report be filed by the high court administration through the registrar general. Such report should reach the registry of this court by Sunday through electronic mode and this matter shall be listed on June 12, Monday,” the bench had said.

National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Rekha Sharma had written to the registrar general of the Madras High Court on June 7, seeking the measures taken to address the issue of lack of toilets for women lawyers in the Nilgiris Court Complex.

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The NCW, in its letter to the high court, had said the new court complex, which was inaugurated in June 2022 and boasts of several amenities and facilities, shockingly lacks a designated toilet that women lawyers can access.

“This oversight has left women lawyers in an uncomfortable and undignified position, having to struggle with basic sanitation needs while performing their professional duties. It is disheartening to learn that the women lawyers in Nilgiris have been demanding a toilet in the court complex for the past 25 years without any resolution.

“This prolonged neglect of their legitimate and basic requirement is not only a violation of their rights, but also hinders their ability to carry out their legal responsibilities effectively,” the NCW said in its letter to the high court.

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