A couple of years ago, a much-liked and widely appreciated Bollywood film hit the movie theatres. It was themed on the seemingly paltry subject of a toilet. But it managed to make many refrain from flushing away a critical need of our times: toilets, but obviously.
The movie did its fair bit in promoting the need of the hour in India; hygiene and cleanliness. Its message was amiable but timely. Villages can no longer operate today minus what every living being needs.
Instead of on just casting the need for clean and viable toilets into a gender narrative, the film managed to stitch an emotive drama around it, showing the complexity of the lack of a clean toilet in a rural family home leading to nearly threatening a marriage from occurring.
But it seems that the famous Akshay Kumar and Bhoomi Pednekar drama- Toilet: Ek Prem Katha (a love story)- may not have reached several district courts in India, the house that upholds justice and carries forward the legacy of the truth.
The very fact that it appears that there are hardly any toilets in district courts cuts a sorry state of the affairs in that machine of the country, without which the democracy cannot function: the judiciary.
Apparently, in as many as 15 percent of the courts, there are no toilets. How can that even be? Does that not paint a very poor picture of a country that made a name in the not so distant past regarding a full-scale movie-drama regarding the need of the same?
Imagine the plight of the women, in particular. How can there not be toilets in district courts? What about the advocates, judges, their support staff and those who appear over there, withstanding the sweat, heat, tensions, and whatnot?
But the matter doesn’t end here. It only becomes a lot graver.
A recent study, shared on the Times Of India stated that as many as 665 district courts in India do not have any toilets for women. If anyone was looking for a living definition of startling, then look no further.
The state of the restrooms in those courts is, as reported, often in the shambles. Only 40% of the toilets in these 665 district courts are functional. What’s more? Nearly half of the district courts in the country had no designated waiting areas.
The sense of absurdity in these complexes only begins to get worse when you understand that only 39% of India’s district courts can be regarded as full-service courts, that include- bank branch, post office, photocopier, canteen, typist, notaries, and similar features.
Interestingly, the states that have the least number of court complexes with functional toilets happen to be Goa, Mizoram, UP, and Jharkhand. To sum up the plight for women, at least 100 district court complexes across India don’t have toilets for women.
The survey was conducted by a Delhi based think tank on judiciary called Vidhi. It was responsible for interviewing as many as 6,650 litigants and it also identified that there exists a poor state of security features in several court complexes.