Practising untouchability during menstruation, postpartum periods criminal offense

Offenders can be jailed for up to three months

There have been numerous instances of menstruating girls and women dying in the Chhaupadi shed in the western parts of Nepal. Such instances are reported in the media but nobody is punished for those deaths.

The Ranabhairav Battalion of Nepal Army at Hanuman Dhoka until last week had put up a notice restricting women from using the main gate of the battalion for seven days during the menstruating period. It removed the notice after widespread criticism in the social media.

The new General Code that will come into effect from Friday has made sending menstruating women to the shed and treating them as untouchables during the menstruating period a criminal offense. Such treatment of new mothers during the postpartum period is also a criminal offense.

Brahmins, Chhetris, Madhesis and a few other communities still practice untouchability during menstruating and postpartum periods.

Clause 168(3) of the new Criminal Code prohibits any kind of discrimination, untouchability and inhuman behavior against menstruating women and new mothers including sending them to sheds. Sub-clauses 4 and 5 have provisions of punishment for anyone involved in such offense.

Those involved in such offense can be jailed for up to three months or fined up to Rs 3,000 or both. The guilty will be liable for an additional sentence of three months if the person has a government job, according to sub-clause 5.



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