KATHMANDU, Nov 15: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday issued an order to the government authorities to bring forth an action plan to endchhaupadi, a superstitious practice forcing women and girls to live in cowsheds during menstruation.
A division bench of justices Tej Bahadur KC and Purusottam Bhandari issued the order to the authorities - the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Law and Justice - to ensure the rights of women by effectively ending the superstition prevalent in the far western region of Nepal.
Saying that an act has recently been enacted criminalizing chhaupadi, the apex court has asked the authorities to regularly monitor the situation of the rights of women and do the needful, as demanded by the petitioner.
The bench was responding to a writ petition filed by advocate Jyoti Lamsal Paudel to ban the superstition prevalent in various far western districts including Dadeldhura, Bajura, Bajhang, Accham, Kailali, Kanchanpur and Doti.
During the hearing on the case on Tuesday, the petitioner sought an apex court order to bring a national plan to end chahupadi. The petitioner argued that though the Criminal Code promulgated recently by parliament has proposed three months jail sentence for the offenders that may not be sufficient to eradicate the superstition.
The petitioner had sought an apex court order to the government authorities to regularly monitor the situation of the rights of women by creating awareness through national media every four months and also introduce an action plan to end chhaupadi.
Earlier in 2005, the apex court had directed the government authorities to enact a law criminalizing chhaupadi, in response to a writ petition filed by Dil Bahadur Bishwakarma.
Meanwhile, the SC on Tuesday issued a show cause notice to the government authorities in relation to the appointment of teachers by giving priority to temporary teachers. A five-member constitutional bench of Chief Justice Gopal Parajuli and justices Deepak Raj Joshee, Om Prakash Mishra, Cholendra SJB Rana and Deepak Kumar Karki issued the order giving 15 days time to reply to the apex court why it need not intervene in the case filed by Jyoti Baniya, chairman of the Consumer Rights Forum. Considering the seriousness of the case, the bench has also put the case on its priority list.