National

“Denial Of Maternity Benefits Inhumane, Violates Rights”: Delhi High Court


Denial of maternity benefits to a female employee is inhumane, Delhi High Court said. (Representational))

New Delhi:

Denial of maternity benefits to a female employee is inhumane and against the principles of social justice as well as her fundamental rights as it stands in the way of her choice to bring life into the world, the Delhi High Court has said.

The court’s observations came while holding as arbitrary a decision of the Delhi University (DU) to terminate the services of a contractual employee while she was on maternity leave.

Justice Chandra Dhari Singh said the institution’s action of terminating the services of the woman, who challenged it before the high court, without even a notice cannot be sustained and maternity benefits cannot be denied to a female employee merely because her employment was contractual.

Since she was “illegally terminated”, the judge directed the authorities to reinstate her and pay an amount of Rs 50,000 to her as compensation.

“Maternity benefits cannot be denied to a female employee merely because the nature of such employment is contractual. Denial of the said benefits is inhumane and in violation of fundamental rights. Maternity rights are not something that is based on a statute but stands to be an integral part of the identity of a woman,” the court said in a recent order.

“Denial of such rights is, in fact, standing in the way of a woman choosing to bring life into the world, thereby violating her fundamental right to life. Such denial is indeed against the principles of social justice,” Justice Singh said.

The petitioner was posted as a female attendant at a DU hostel on an ad-hoc basis in 2018. She told the court that although her maternity leave was approved by the authorities, she did not receive her salary during that period and upon rejoining, she was informed that her services were terminated.

The court noted that according to a notification issued by the DU, paid maternity leave of 26 weeks should be granted to women who are employed with it on a contractual or ad-hoc basis and the record made it evident that the petitioner was in fact employed on a contractual basis and her term was further extended, making the policy applicable to her.

“It can be concluded that the respondent institution’s action of terminating the petitioner without so much as a notice is arbitrary,” the court said.

“The instant petition is allowed and the respondents are directed to reinstate the petitioner on her previous post or any other post as per her eligibility. It is also directed to pay the maternity benefits as per the Act, 1961 within four weeks,” the court directed.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)



Source link