Maternity Benefits Must be Extended to Contractual Workers: Himachal Pradesh High Court

A bench comprising Justice Sureshwar Thakur of the Himachal Pradesh High Court, while hearing a plea filed by a medical officer, held that the benefit of maternity leaves is available to contractual employees also, with all consequential benefits, including continuity in service.

The petition was filed was filed by Dr. Mandeep Kaur, a contractually employed Medical Officer at an ECHS clinic. Advocate B. Nandan Vashishta appeared for the petitioner while Senior Panel counsel Lokender Pal Thakur appeared for the Respondent.

The High Court while refering to Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Female Workers & Anr., 2000 (3) (SCC) 224, observed that if a woman is “coerced” to render her duties of employment, even during the phase wherein she is carrying a child in her womb, she may not be fully facilitated to carry out the calling(s) of her avocation.

“Necessarily, the toll, and the telling effect, upon the health, of, the foetus, would again, spotlight, a grave infraction being visited, qua the constitutionally guaranteed, right to life, both to the mother, and, in the foetus. In the afore scenario, for safeguarding the mandate, of, Article 21, of, the Constitution of India, the entitlement to maternity leave, cannot be denied to the writ petitioner, even though, she was engaged on a contractual basis.”

Case Title: Dr. Mandeep Kaur v. Union of India & Ors.

Case No.: CWP No. 1400/2018

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