The High Court of Karnataka on Monday directed the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike to inform whether any exercise had been undertaken to know how many privies (public toilets) had to be set up in Bengaluru city.

The court also directed the BBMP to inform whether any exercise had been carried out to know the number of toilets required for women, and steps taken to keep all public toilets clean and safe for use.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Abhay Shreeniwas Oka and Justice Ashok S. Kinagi passed the order on a PIL petition filed by city-based Letzkit Foundation.

The petitioner organisation complained about the failure of the BBMP in setting up the required number of public toilets and maintaining the existing toilets in a clean and proper manner as per Section 245 of the Karnataka Municipal Corporations Act.

Meanwhile, the court directed the BBMP on what action it had taken under Section 248 and 249 of the KMC Act, which empowers the Commissioner to ensure providing sufficient toilets at workplaces having more than 20 labourers and at markets, cart stands, cattle stand, choultry, theatres, railway stations or other place of public resort.

ULBs across State

Observing that the issues raised in the petition were of public importance, the Bench noted that these issued required to be addressed not only by the BBMP but other urban local bodies (ULBs) in the State. The Bench directed the State government to issue necessary circulars to all ULBs on the issues raised in the petition.

Swachh Bharat Mission

The petitioner pointed out that as per the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) guidelines, there needed to be one water closet for every 100 males up to 400 persons; and two water closets for every 100 females up to 200 persons to cater to the floating population. Also, one urinal was required to be set up for every 50 male as per SBM, apart from providing one ablution tap for every water closet.

It was pointed out in the petition that Bengaluru city has only 473 public toilet complexes with 2,838 toilets, which was not even 50% of what that prescribed in the SBM.

Also, the petitioner said that migrants, labourers and other persons belonging to weaker sections, particularly women, would not be able to use many toilet/urinal complexes across the city as they collect ₹5 for use of toilets by men or women, and ₹1 for urinals for men.

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