Menstrual Hygiene Laws In India

Menstrual Hygiene Laws In India



This Blog is written by Barnali Das from KIIT School of Law, OdishaEdited by Prakriti Dadsena.



Menstruation is a natural biological process of the body of every girl or women in their adolescent age. However, in rural India, as a whole, it is a topic that is not spoken about openly and it also causes needless shame and embarrassment as in our country, menstruation is a taboo induced with a stigma that does not permit to be discussed or nor even seek information. Approximately, half of India’s population is constituted by girls and women but yet gender discrepancies remain a critical issue that impacts the health, education, and equal workplace participation of women and girls in India. There is significant evidence that shows that adolescent girls on the onset of menarche have an increase in their restrictions to move freely and their actions. Across our country, there are nearly 355 million menstruating adolescent girls and during this time they need a surrounding that is safe and provides them with protection and guidance in order to ensure their basic health and well-being but millions of these girls are particularly vulnerable on the onset of their menarche as they still experience remarkable hurdles to a comfortable and dignified Menstrual Hygiene Management (MHM).

MHM means women and adolescent girls getting to use clean materials for menstrual management to absorb the blood and it can be changed in privacy as often as it may be necessary during this period with the use of soap and clean water for washing the body as required and also to get proper access to the facilities for the disposal f the used materials. The Menstrual Hygiene Management guidelines is an essential component of the Guidelines of the Swachh Bharat Mission which is issued by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in order to help and provide aid to all adolescent girls and women to ensure that they can manage their menstruation process in a hygienic way and also experience health, education and other benefits related to it.


Menstruation is an integral and normal process of human life and for adolescent girls and women to live a healthy and productive life, menstrual hygiene is an utmost necessity. In India, the menstruation process still is taboo and it is so common for the people of this society to feel embarrassed or uncomfortable to even talk about it. The practices during periods are influenced by taboos and unnecessary social and cultural restrictions for women and adolescent girls. Along with this, the lack of education on puberty and menstrual health, access to preferred and high-quality menstrual management materials, and appropriate sanitation facilities, restricts the girls of their school attendance, their freedom to move about or act freely and it also contributes to women and adolescent girls suffering from local infections during this period. The lack of proper, separate, and usable toilets for girls and women in school and a proper toilet at home leaves them to have to face the indignity of open excretion. MHM guidelines include health education for all adolescent girls and women, providing them with a regular supply of good quality sanitary napkins, providing them with other measures of sanitation like proper and sufficient access to clean water and toilets in schools as well as at home. Therefore, creating awareness about MHM and increasing their access to necessary sanitary infrastructure through the guidelines of MHM is very significant. Effective MHM is very necessary to meet the basic human rights of every woman and an adolescent girl.


The MHM has an impact on the dignity and well being of every woman and adolescent girl around the world. A safe MHM can be considered to be a part of the human right to water and sanitation. There are various outcomes of the society that is connected to the poor practices of MHM. Some of these include low attendance in school or dropouts from schools, restricting daily activities such as cooking, cleaning, touching, or worshiping during this period, and also the cultural implications. Some of the health-related outcomes which result due to poor MHM may include urogenital infections which also include infections in the reproductive tract and urinary tract of women. It also has an impact on the cleanliness of the environment as proper disposal of used sanitary napkins and other materials prevents it from making a mess of dry riverbeds, roadsides, and streets. The MHM guidelines help in the development of better, stronger, and more confident adolescent girls and women.


(Menstrual Hygiene Management in the Swachh Bharat Guidelines)

Ø  The funds that are collected under the IEC component might be put to use for IEC in this matter and spread the awareness and practices in MHM everywhere especially among the adolescent girls in school. The plans of IEC in this component must include the spreading of awareness among all the stakeholders. Funds collected under the solid and liquid waste management (SLMW) component may also be used for the setting up of incinerators in the schools. IEC plans must include this component for spreading awareness among all the stakeholders.

Ø  Issues that are related to the personal hygiene of women especially menstrual hygiene must be looked into under the SBM guidelines. Adolescent girls and women do have hygiene and sanitation needs linked to their periods. Women without the knowledge of the safe practices under MHM suffer in various ways.

Ø  There are various examples in which the CSOs and SHGs have helped the community, provided information about menstrual hygiene practices, and also helped in the development of models of the economy which would help to meet the demand for sanitary napkins. Here the CSOs and SHGs can play a crucial role.

Along with ensuring the availability of toilets in each and every house, the government and all stakeholders must ensure that:

• There must be awareness, knowledge, and information among every adolescent girl and women and also men and adolescent boys so that the menstrual process can be managed in safety, and with confidence and dignity

• Every adolescent girl and woman must be able to access easily to clean, adequate, good quality, and affordable menstrual hygiene materials to absorb the blood.

• In schools and workplaces, they must have access to the facilities of separate toilets with private space for cleaning and washing and also the availability of sufficient clean water supply and soap.

• They must have easy access to proper disposal of used menstrual hygiene materials such as sanitary napkins and must also have proper knowledge of using it properly.


The foremost effort for safeguarding the basics of sanitation was made in the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Environmental and Consumer Protect Fund v. Delhi Administration & Ors. In this case, the SC ordered to ensure the building of separate washrooms for girls and boys in all governmental schools so as to improve sanitation. In the argument of the importance of the given order, the Court said:  “Empirical researches indicated that wherever toilet facilities are not provided in schools, parents do not send their children (particularly girls) to school which is violative of the right to free and compulsory education of children as guaranteed under Article 21-A of the Constitution.” Thus, the courts due to this case noticed the increase in the rate of dropouts of girls due to their menstruation and delivered this judgment in order to limit it.

In the case of Indian Young Lawyers Association & Ors. v. The State of Kerala & Ors. (2018) or the Sabarimala case, Rule 3(b) of the Kerala Hindu Places of Public Worship (Authorization of Entry) Rules,1965 was challenged by a group of women lawyers. This Rule puts restrictions on women of menstruating age to enter the temple which is one of the most famous temples in Kerala. They moved the Supreme Court after the Kerala HC upheld the centuries-old restriction.

The bench was led by the former Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. In a 4:1 majority, the centuries-old restriction was ruled out stating that it violates the rights of Hindu women and that banning entry of women to shrine is gender discrimination. The Supreme Court laid that it is violative of Article 14, Article 15, and Article 17 of the Constitution of India which guarantees to provide justice to every citizen of India regardless of gender. This custom of not allowing women to enter the temple is discriminatory and women should be given a right to worship at any place of their choice. Women’s right to pray is a Constitutional right and it should not be dependent on such laws.


Out of all the menstruating women and girls, millions of them around the world lack sufficient facilities for menstrual hygiene management. The challenges that all women and adolescent girls come across during their menstruation period are often not much tangible than simply the availability of framework and it is embedded in the socio-cultural norm and beliefs of the society. In many various cultures, women and girls during their periods are considered to be impure and prevented or restricted from taking part in the daily activities which include education, employment, cultural and religious practices. Along with this, the menstruation and menstrual practices being clouded by the taboos and stigma lead to the overall culture of silence around this topic which ultimately results in the limitation of information and knowledge about the menstruation process and its hygiene. Such limited information has consequences for the menstrual health and dignity of all women and girls. Considering the various challenges faced by adolescent girls and women, it is clearly evident that the promotion of MHM guidelines is not just a matter of sanitation but also a very important step towards the protection of well being, dignity, bodily integrity, and also overall life opportunities of all women and girls across the world.


Safe and effective MHM acts as a trigger for the better and stronger development of all girls and women across the country. For this to be a success it requires that all state, district, and also the local authorities including schools, communities, and families must create a surrounding in which menstrual hygiene management is considered to be normal and is acceptable by all. However, in rural areas of India, the guidelines are not much effective and the menstrual hygiene in these areas is not up to the mark. In conclusion, it can be said that rural India has a great marketing potential for low-cost sanitary napkins and it only needs the active involvement of different stakeholders to make sure the regular and sufficient supply of sanitary napkins. The laws for menstrual hygiene management in India is very important for the development of women and girls in all various aspects. Therefore, its implementation also should be done effectively.










10 Thoughts to “Menstrual Hygiene Laws In India”

  1. Samiran Datta.

    Informative article

    1. Samiran Datta.

      Informative article

      1. Lipi Datta

        Nice article ????.


      Thank You so much for the feedback. Glad to know that it was informative for you

  2. Ayushee Priya

    I didn’t knew much about menstrual hygiene laws in India but after reading this article I’m aware about all the provisions mentioned in this Act and this article can create more awareness. Such articles should be appreciated for writing everything so precisely and aptly.


      Thank you so much for the feedback. I really appreciate your support. Glad to know that it was so informative for you and that you liked it.

  3. Abhishek kumar

    These articles will act as a mirror to our society, I know that even today there are many places where boys/girls do not have separate toilets and there are many places where boys and girls are still discriminated against. Want this article to reach everywhere and people should get maximum information about this thing and our entire country should understand this thing. And this article is really very nice, people will get more and more information about this and lastly you have written very important article and I also knew a lot about this, so thank you that you taught me so much through this article and got so much information.


      Thank you so much for such a great feedback. I really appreciate your support. I’m really very glad to know that the article will prove to be knowledgeable for everyone.

  4. Archana Das

    This is a very informative article that everyone needs to have knowledge of.
    Good work Barnali Das!


      Thank you so much for you feedback. I’m very glad to know that you liked it. I really appreciate your support.

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