High Court

Recently, the principal bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising of Justice Jaswant Singh and Justice Sant Prakash has uphold the rule stating that only women having two or less kids can avail the benefit of maternity leave, while dismissing the plea of a petitioner which is a nursing officer, working in a Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh; who has objected the hospital’s decision to reject her maternity leave.

The nursing officer has objected the decision given before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). Unsatisfied with the CAT’s decision, approached the High Court in February 2021.

In a plea, it was asserted that the petitioner had applied for the leave subsequent the birth of her first biological child post marrying a man, who previously had two children from his first wedlock. Nevertheless, PGIMER had repudiated the request for maternal leave from June 2019 to September 2019 and turned it into earned leave.

Citing the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules 1972, the hospital has told before the court that the petitioner already has two surviving children, therefore can’t be eligible for the maternity leave.

Further, it was argued the petitioner that PGIMER can’t deprived her of the legitimate right to maternity leave of having two surviving children and she applied for the leave of her first biological child.

While dismissing the plea and ratifying the CAT’s decision, it was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana HC stating that the petitioner can’t avail the benefit of maternity leave as the child which will be born to her is to be considered as the third child. The court also observed that the very fact can’t be denied of a nursing officer being their mother, although she isn’t the biological mother of the two children born from the first wedlock of her husband.

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