Mumbai: Maharashtra being a welfare state its employees must adhere to the norms of population control and not have more than two children, held the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) recently, while dismissing a plea filed by a clerk in civil services, who was removed from her job for having three children. The tribunal further said that the policy for two children continues throughout the service of an employee and not only at a candidate's entry level.
A bench of Justice Mridula Bhatkar and vice chairperson Praveen Dixit was seized with a plea filed by a woman challenging her termination from service as a junior clerk in the office of Settlement Commissioner in Pune. The woman was appointed in 2009 and till 2019 she gave birth to two children and again in 2020 she became mother for the third time.
Accordingly, while she was on maternity leave, her office issued a notice to her asking not to resume job till a final decision is taken in her matter. Subsequently, she was informed that her services are being terminated as she has breached the provisions of the Maharashtra Civil Services (Declaration of Small family) Rules,2005, which provides for only two children for a government employee.
In her defence, the woman argued that the rules apply only at the entry level i.e. appointment and not when one is in service.
"The restrictions not to have a third child exists throughout when he or she is in service. Being a Welfare state, to have a small family is a state policy," the bench ruled.
The bench further said that when the state makes rules with a view to have a small family policy "to control continuously growing population in India then to have a small family policy throughout the service period is as contemplated under the Rules."
“It is absurd to say that only at entry level candidate should have a small family and thereafter the said criterion of eligibility is relaxed in service," the judges held. The bench further held that if a person at the time of entry level is having two children and after joining the services he/she desires to have three/ four children, "then it will frustrate the object of the ‘Rules of 2005’ and will defeat the Small Family Policy."
"When a particular declaration is made about a particular status at entry level, it is legitimately expected that the person is going to maintain the same status in future in keeping the object of such declaration in mind. It is a restriction on government servant not to increase the number of family members more than two when he/she is in service," the bench ruled.