Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh): The Madhya Pradesh High Court has directed the public health engineering (PHE) department of the state to provide maternity leave benefit to a contractual woman employee.
In its order passed on Thursday, a single bench of Justice Vishal Dhagat said, "In view of the circular of the state government, I do not see any reason not to extend the similar benefit to petitioner who is a woman employee appointed on contractual basis." Petitioner Sushma Dwivedi, who is a contractual employee of the PHE department, had challenged the February 6, 2018 order of the executive engineer at the PHE office in Shahdol district's Umaria, denying her the benefit of maternity leave, her counsel Ashish Trivedi said.
The department had rejected her application for maternity leave from December 1, 2016 to May 31, 2017 on the ground that she was a contractual employee and there was no condition in the contract to give maternity leave to her, he added.
Trivedi told the court that the Supreme Court, in a case of Municipal Corporation of Delhi vs Female Workers (Muster Roll) and another of year 2000, had held that maternity leave does not change with the nature of employment.
It had held that the employer and the courts are bound under the constitutional scheme to guarantee right to life, right to live with dignity and protect the health of both mother and child, and after taking note of identical principles, he said.
He said that the Madhya Pradesh High Court had in its March 2, 2017 order, in a case of Priyanka Gujarkar Shrivastava, had granted maternity leave on the basis of the apex court order, and therefore, the petitioner is also entitled to get maternity leave.
The state government in its administrative directions of June 5, 2018 said that women appointed on contractual basis are entitled to get 90 days of maternity leave and women employees will be entitled to get benefits with riders, Trivedi said.
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