Maternity benefits: State cannot discriminate between regular and non-regular government staff, says Madras HC

By: |
August 20, 2021 7:50 PM

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu ordered the notice on Thursday, returnable by September 16.

Madrash High Coourt directed the government advocate to get appropriate direction from the government with regard to granting maternity leave uniformly.

Holding that there cannot be any discrimination between the regularised and non-regularised married women government servants with regard to granting of maternity benefits, the Madras High Court has ordered notice to the state government on a PIL petition, on the issue.

The first bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice P D Audikesavalu ordered the notice on Thursday, returnable by September 16. It directed the government advocate to get appropriate direction from the government with regard to granting maternity leave uniformly to the regularised, contractual and non-regularised married women servants.

The PIL from advocate C Rajaguru prayed for a direction to the Health and Family Welfare Department, Directorates of Medical and Rural Health Services (DMS), Public Health and Preventive Medicine (DPHS) and the office of the joint director of Health Services, Government District Headquarters Hospital Campus in Villupuram district to take immediate steps to identify the pending applications from the regularised, non-regularised married women government staff appointed under the emergency provisions, temporary and contract basis, who had completed one year of continuous service for their maternity benefits as per a GO of July 2020.

The petitioner pointed out that the mental agony, physical pain and economic difficulties and financial need of the pregnant or child bearing permanent married woman government servants and the non-permanent ones, are one and the same. The four departments are practicing discrimination and indifferent consideration. This violated Article 14 of the Constitution.

Due to the irresponsibility and insincerity and violative behaviours of some of the officers in the departments, very many applications for maternity benefits from non-regularised/non-permanent married women employees are pending or kept pending for their regularisation of their services and an approval of the respective authorities. This attitude would amount to indulging in maternity harassment, the petitioner contended.

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