Contractual workers are entitled to Child Care Leave: says Uttarakhand HC

While hearing a case where the petitioner appointed on a contractual basis was denied child care leave (CCL), a three judge bench headed by the Uttarakhand Chief Justice Ramesh Rangnathan gave its final judgement on 24/07/2020.

The petitioner was a lady ayurvedic doctor working in State Medical and Health service. She had already availed her maternity leave refused to join back the service and instead applied for a child care leave.Her application for leave was rejected by the Director of Ayurvedic Unani Services in view of a previous government order which stated, that a child care leave can only be given to a regular government employee and not to employees working on a contractual basis. Hence, the present issue.

Aggrieved by this order, the petitioner filed a writ petition and relied on the case of Dr. Shanti Mehra vs State of Uttarakhand which clearly stated that even a contractual government employee is entitled for CCL for a period of 730 days.

In response to the arguments of the petitioner the court re-affirmed that government employees who are appointed on a contractual basis are entitled to a child care leave but at the same time, the bench also stated that an employee who is appointed on an yearly contract cannot be given a child care leave for 730 days(i.e. 2 years) as this will exceed the period for which the person is appointed and force the government to extend the contract.

Such an employee can be granted a paid child care leave for 31 days on the same terms and principles as an ‘earned leave’ is given to regular employees.

“CCL is primarily for the benefit of a child.A child whose mother happens to be appointed on a contractual basis with the Government, has the same needs as any other child.A denial of CCL to a government contractual employee would in effect mean a denial of the rights of a child. Rights whicch a child would have under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India” the bench stated in its further proceedings.

The real benefactor of the CCL is the child and therefore ,CCL cannot be denied to a mother or even to a single father.The court therefore, ruled in favour of the petitioner.

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