Government orders setting up of basic facilities for women at public places

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Srinagar: The Governor’s Administration has called for immediate steps to be taken for setting up basic facilities for women at public places in the State including feeding room, change room and rest-rooms.

“It is impressed upon all the stakeholders including executing agencies like Municipalities, Development Authorities, Public Works Department, Gardens, Parks and Floriculture Department, Rural Development Department, District Administrations and other concerned agencies in the Government to ensure setting up of basic facilities including feeding rooms/change rooms and rest-rooms at public places for women and children,” said a circular issued by Secretary to the Government, Social Welfare Department, Dr Farooq Ahmad Lone.

It said the move is aimed at securing women’s right to privacy and interests of newborn babies and their mothers in light of the Section-22 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir which among other things, provides that the State shall endeavor to secure for all women, special protection against discourtesy, defamation, hooliganism and other forms of misconduct.

“With a view to achieve this constitutional guarantee to women, the Government has all along been conscious of the importance of empowerment of women to bring about Gender Responsive Social Transformation in the Society and number of laws and measures are in place to safeguard and protect the rights of women & child,” the circular said adding that however, it has been observed that due to lack of facilities at public places to breastfeed, the women’s privacy is hampered and at times women are harassed and mocked by the public at large on this account.

It said the Supreme Court in WP(C) No: 7356 of 2018 in Master Ayaan Rastogi & Anrv/s Union of India & Anr has also directed for setting up basic facilities such as feeding rooms/change rooms at public places for women and children, to secure women’s right to privacy.

“These essential basic facilities will be of great relief to large number of newborn babies and their mothers,” the circular said and added that the instructions on the subject are to be adhered to by all concerned in letter and spirit, so as to create respectful and healthy environment for women and children at public places. (KNS)

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