No maternity leave for state govt employees in case of third child, rules Uttarakhand High Court
Uttarakhand High Court has passed a judgement which makes state government employees not eligible for maternity leave for their third child
Uttarakhand High Court has passed a judgement which makes state government employees not eligible for maternity leave for their third child.
Passing a unique judgement on Tuesday, The double bench of Chief Justices Ramesh Ranganathan and Alok Kumar Verma set aside an earlier order passed in July 2018 by the High Court’s single bench.
In its order on July 30, 2018, the single bench of Justice Rajeev Sharma had abated Uttarkhand government’s rule that denied maternity leave for women after their third pregnancy stating 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. Maternity Benefit Act protects 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.
Rajeev Sharma had passed the order in 2018 while hearing a writ petition filed by Haldwani resident Urmila Masih, who worked as a nurse at a government hospital and was denied maternity leave on the grounds that she already has two children and could not be granted leave for her third child in consonance with “the second provision of fundamental rule 153.”
The second provision of fundamental rule 153 of the financial handbook of the Uttar Pradesh Fundamental Rules, which had been adopted by Uttarakhand at the time of creation of the state in November 2000, denies maternity leave to women for their third child.
Citing the above provision, Uttarakhand government had challenged Sharma’s order in the double bench of the court further arguing that “Article 42 of the Constitution is under directive principles of state policy and its provisions cannot be enforced.”
According to a report in Times of India, Advocate general of Uttarakhand SN Babulkar said that the double bench accepted the state government’s contention in the matter and overruled the single bench order.
The High Court's orders come even as an amendment to the Maternity Benefit Act went into force from April 1, 2017, increasing the duration of paid maternity leave available for women employees from 12 weeks to 26 weeks. In case of women expecting their third child, the duration of paid maternity leave has been fixed at 12 weeks under the amendment to the Act.
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