The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked the Maharashtra government to consider making sanitary napkins available at subsidised rates, PTI reported. The bench asked the government to mention steps it had taken to spread awareness about the use of sanitary napkins.

The division bench comprising Judges NH Patil and NW Sambre was hearing a petition filed by NGO Shetty Women Welfare Foundation claiming that sanitary napkins were unavailable for 80% of women because of lack of awareness or high prices. The petition had also sought to challenge the 12% Goods and Services Tax on sanitary pads.

“First step is [creating] effective awareness and the second step is making the napkins available and at a subsidised rate,” Patil said, according to PTI.

The judges suggested that the government could issue guidelines to gram panchayats which can help spread awareness on the matter in rural areas. The bench asked the additional solicitor general to assist the court on the subject of GST during further hearings.