Case Law Details

Case Name : Smt. Archana Pandey Vs State of M.P and others (Madras High Court)
Appeal Number : Writ Petition No. 15523 of 2016
Date of Judgement/Order : 04/04/2017
Related Assessment Year :
Courts : All High Courts (3629) Madras High Court (269)

The Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Dr. Parul Mishra Vs. State of U.P. decided on 27 th January, 2010 in the case of a Lecturer working as Government and Post Graduate College on contract basis, after applying the laid down in the Supreme Court Female Workers (Muster Roll) (Supra) held that the employees therein was entitled to avail maternity benefit as is applicable to regularly lecturer in the Government College and identical contention of the State Government counsel to say that contractual employees are not entitled for maternity benefit was rejected. It was held by the learned High Court that the maternity leave does not change with the nature of employment. It is concerned with human right of a women and the employer and the Courts are bound under the constitutional scheme guaranteeing right to life, a right to live with dignity and protect the health of both mother and child, and after taking note of identical principle, petitions have been allowed.

Full Text of the High Court Judgment / Order is as follows:-

The singular question in this case is whether the petitioner, a contractual employee is entitled to get the benefit of maternity leave. The petitioner’s claim is based on Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 and its interpretation by various Court whereas the stand of respondents is based on Clause 6.7 of the Contract of Appointment wherein it is mentioned that the petitioner will get the benefit of maternity leave only after completion of one year’s period from the date of appointment. Thus, as noticed, the core issue is whether the petitioner is entitled to get the benefit of maternity leave.

2. Section 27 of the Maternity Benefit Act was considered by the Supreme Court in the case reported in 2000 (3) SCC 224 [Municipal Corporation of Delhi V. Female Workers (Musteroll) and another]. The said Supreme Court judgment was recently considered by the Division Bench of this Court in the case of Mrs. Priyanka Gujarkar  Shrivastava Vs. Registrar General& another in W.P.No.17004/2015 whereas this Court opined as under:

a 12. в¦ If we analyse each and every word and the anxiety expressed by the Hon. Supreme Court in the judgment, we have no hesitation in holding that in the case of a woman irrespective of the place where she If we analyse each and every word and the anxiety expressed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the judgment, we have no hesitation in holding that in the case of a woman irrespective of the place where she is working and irrespective of capacity of her appointment, the nature and tenure of her appointment and the duties performed by her, when it comes to granting her the benefit of facilities required to give birth to a child the employer is duty bound under the Constitution to provide her all the benefits and that is why it has been held by the Hon’ble Supreme Court that the benefit of Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 should be conferred to even muster role employees working in the Delhi Municipal Corporation and if the aforesaid principle is applied in the present case, we see no reason as to why the benefit of Maternity Benefit Act should not be given to a woman contractual employee even if she is working in the establishment of the District and Sessions Judge.

13. x x x x

14. x x x x

15. x x x x

16. Identical issue of granting maternity leave to women employees appointed on contract basis or on adhoc or temporary basis have been considered by the Allahabad High Court, the Rajasthan High Court, the Punjab & Haryana High Court and the Uttarakhand High Court and based on the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Female Workers (Muster Roll) (Supra), petitions have been allowed and directions issued to grant benefit to the employees. The Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court in the case of Dr. Parul Mishra Vs. State of U.P. decided on 27 th January, 2010 in the case of a Lecturer working as Government and Post Graduate College on contract basis, after applying the laid down in the Supreme Court Female Workers (Muster Roll) (Supra) held that the employees therein was entitled to avail maternity benefit as is applicable to regularly lecturer in the Government College and identical contention of the State Government counsel to say that contractual employees are not entitled for maternity benefit was rejected. It was held by the learned High Court that the maternity leave does not change with the nature of employment. It is concerned with human right of a women and the employer and the Courts are bound under the constitutional scheme guaranteeing right to life, a right to live with dignity and protect the health of both mother and child, and after taking note of identical principle, petitions have been allowed. Similarly, the Rajsthan High Court in various writ petitions has directed for granting benefit to contract and temporary employees who are also claiming identical benefit in the cases of Civil Writ No.1598/2017 âMeenakshi Rao Vs. State of Rajasthan & others decided on 14 th February, 2017 following earlier an judgment of the Rajasthan High Court rendered by Division Bench in the case of Neetu Choudhary Vs. State of Rajasthan & others (2008) Vol.-II RNW page 1404 (Raj). The Punjab & Haryana High Court has also granted similar benefit and allowed identical writ petition in the case of Anima Goel Vs. Haryana State Agricultural Development Corporation (2007) Vol.III LLJ page 64, Punjab & Haryana and the Uttarakhand High Court has allowed a writ petition on identical terms in the case of Smt. Nidhi Choudhary Vs. State of Uttarakhand Writ Petition No.1866/2016 decided on 27.09.2016. Copies of all these judgments available in the website of Indian Kanoon Organization have been produced before us for perusal and we find that in all these cases after applying the law laid down by the Supreme Court as detailed here-in-above, identical writ petitions have been allowed and contractual employees have been directed to be granted the benefit of maternity leave at par with regular  employees and we see no reason to take different view.

3. In the light of the judgment of Supreme Court in Female Workers’ case (supra) which is followed by this Court in the case of Mrs. Priyanka Gujarkar (supra) curtains are finally drawn on the issue involved in the present case. Accordingly, the action of the respondents whereby the claim of the maternity benefit was denied cannot be accepted. It runs contrary to the legislative mandate flowing from Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. Resultantly, the impugned orders dated 13.7.2016 (Annexure P-1) and 7.9.2016 (Annexure P-2) are set aside to the extent it relates to non-grant of maternity benefits to the petitioner. The respondents are directed to grant maternity benefit to the petitioner as per the Act, 1961.

4. The writ petition is allowed. There shall be no order as to costs.

(Sujoy Paul)

Judge

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