Uttarakhand High Court: No Maternity Leave For State Govt Employees For Third Child
A division bench of Uttarakhand High Court has overruled a 2018 decision of the High Court providing maternity leave for a third pregnancy to government women employees. ”
The judgement came on Tuesday, September 17 after the division bench comprising of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Alok Kumar removed the previous order passed in July 2018 by the High Court’s single bench. In July 2018, the high court had scrapped the rule barring maternity leave to women government employees for a third pregnancy, claiming it to be “unconstitutional.”
The directions of the court came after a petition filed by Urmila Masih, a state government employee who had applied for maternity leave of six months from June 20, 2015, to December 9, 2015. Masih was not granted the leave stating that she was not eligible for the leave for a third pregnancy under the “second provision of fundamental rule 153.”
In its order on July 30, 2018, the single judge bench of Justice Rajeev Sharma had questioned the government’s order denying maternity leave to women after third pregnancy. The High Court stated that it went against Article 42 of the Constitution which provides for “just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief” and also Section 27 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
The second provision of fundamental rule 153 of the Uttar Pradesh Fundamental Rules denies maternity leave to women for their third child. Citing this provision, the Uttarakhand government had challenged the single bench’s order in the double bench of the court further arguing that “Article 42 of the Constitution is under directive principles of the state policy and its provision cannot be enforced, reported The Times of India.
Maternity Benefit Act protects the job of a woman during the time of her maternity and entitles her full pay during her absence from work to take care of her child. The HC, in the order, had observed that the rule was contrary to the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which does not prohibit grant of maternity leave to a female government employee even if she already has two children at the time of submission of application for the leave.