‘Only women with two or less kids eligible for maternity leave’

Punjab and Haryana high court dismisses PGIMER nursing officer’s plea for maternity leave for her first biological child, stating her husband already has two children from his first marriage
The woman had applied for four-month maternity leave after the birth of her first biological child. (HT File Photo)
The woman had applied for four-month maternity leave after the birth of her first biological child. (HT File Photo)
Published on Mar 19, 2021 01:26 AM IST
Copy Link
BySurender Sharma, Chandigarh

A woman can avail of maternity leave only if she has two or less surviving children, irrespective of whether they are biological or not, the Punjab and Haryana high court has ruled.

The high court bench of justice Jaswant Singh and justice Sant Parkash passed the order while dismissing the plea of a nursing officer, working with Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, who had challenged the hospital’s decision to reject her maternity leave.

The petitioner had applied for the leave following the birth of her first biological child after marrying a man, who already had two children from his first marriage.

However, the leave request for June 2019 to September 2019 was denied by PGIMER and converted into earned leave.

She had challenged this before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). But did not get any relief and approached the high court in February 2021.

PGIMER had told the court that the woman had entered the names of the two children from her husband’s first marriage in the office record, and availed of child care leave and treatment facility for them on many occasions.

Citing Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972, the hospital had said that as she already had two surviving children, she was not eligible for maternity leave.

The nursing officer had argued that she had sought the leave for her first biological child and PGIMER could not deprive her of her legitimate right to maternity leave on the artificial analogy of having two surviving children.

While dismissing her plea, the high court bench observed that perusal of the service rules will reveal that maternity leave can be granted to a female government servant only if she had less than two surviving children.

“Though the petitioner is not the biological mother of the two children born from the first wedlock of her husband, she cannot deny the fact that now she is their mother,” the court observed. It also took note of the fact that she has also availed of child care leave for the two children.

“In view of this, any child born to her is to be considered as the third child,” the bench said, while upholding CAT’s decision to deny her relief.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close Story
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, November 28, 2021