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Relief for pregnant Army officer

The Bombay HC approves the draft order granting her time to take over her new posting, reports Urvi Mahajani.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2007 02:16 IST
Urvi Mahajani
Urvi Mahajani
Hindustan Times

The eight-month pregnant army major Leena Gurav got a relief on Tuesday after the Bombay High Court approved the draft order passed by the Union Ministry of Defence granting her time to take over her new posting after the transfer and maternity leave for four months. Gurav (36) had approached the HC on August 4 deferment of her transfer from Mumbai to Lucknow, due to her pregnancy.

Rui Rodrigues, counsel for the ministry told the court that they have passed a draft order granting Gurav time till September 15 to take over her new posting at Lucknow. She would take charge on paper then after which, she will go on leave for four months - two months will be maternity leave and two months will be general leave. Gurav approached the HC after the Union Ministry of Defense issued the transfer orders despite her application requesting for deferment till March 2008.

"If she wants, she can apply for one additional months leave after that and she can resume in the month of February," added Rodrigues.

Gurav's counsel Rajiv Chavan told the court that there would be no chain of delays in transfers as was argued by the ministry earlier as the officer who is to take over Gurav's post in Mumbai will be arriving from Kolkata on August 30. "Also, the post in Lucknow where she is transferred has been lying vacant for the past one year," added Chavan.

Gurav had started her career with the Indian Army in 1996 as an officer of the Judge Advocate General's department. In March 2004 she was deputed as the Officer-in-charge of the legal cell of the headquarters of Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa.

Later in 2006, she married Yogesh Pawaskar, manager in the Shamrao Vithal Co-operative Bank in Goa. She conceived her first child at the age of 36 early this year.

Due to her pregnancy, Gurav was downgraded in the medical category that held her unfit to work in high altitude areas and places that have sub-zero temperature.

In March this year, Gurav made an application to the Military Secretary's Branch (MSB) in Delhi requesting extension of her tenure in Mumbai till March 2008 on compassionate grounds. However, the MSB refused her application. Normal tenure of officers of Gurav's rank is two to three years, which she has already exhausted, reasoned MSB while turning down her application.

On May 24, the MSB issued order transferring her to the Headquarters Central Command, Lucknow.

Aggrieved, she filed a writ petition in the HC contending that transferring her at the advance stage of pregnancy was violative of Article 39 (just and humane conditions of work) and Article 42 (maternity relief) of the Constitution of India.

First Published: Aug 14, 2007 22:42 IST

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