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~By Kunal Rao

The Delhi High Court on Thursday (July 19) sought replies from Centre, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Delhi government, New Delhi Municipal Corporation, Delhi Development Authority and Delhi Cantonment Board on what steps have been taken to construct feeding rooms/changing rooms at public places for women and children to ensure breastfeeding.

During the course of proceedings, the bench of acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar asked for Centre’s stand on the issue.

To which the Centre’s counsel said that he needed to take instructions.

“You need a representation to do this, go anywhere in the world, everywhere there is a breastfeeding facility for mothers,” bench said to the Centre’s counsel.

Court issued showcause notice to all parties including Centre, Delhi Government, DDA, NDMC and Delhi Cantonment Board to file an action taken report within four weeks.

The bench directions came while hearing a petition filed by a 9-year-old boy, Avyaan Rastogi through guardian Neha Rastogi stating that the government is not providing adequate facilities to the lactating mothers and infants in India.

Petition said that breastfeeding becomes a more complicated task when you are at a public place. Even while travelling if some relatives are accompanying you especially males, then, it becomes uncomfortable to feed in car. It’s just the presence of strangers and their dishonorable looks which make moms feel that they are doing some crime and they have lost all hopes to live in a dignified manner in India due to lack of basic facilities such as feeding rooms/changing rooms.

The bench fixed the next date of hearing to August 28.

Read the petition here.

—India Legal Bureau

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