The Supreme Court on 24th Feb.dismisses a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directive to all the state governments to frame rules for menstrual pain leaves to female students and working-class women at their respective workplaces.
A bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, observed that not only the matter is within the realm of a policy decision, a directive of this sort may dissuade prospective employees from hiring women for jobs.
“Having regard to the policy views, it would be appropriate if the petitioner approaches women and child development ministry. The petition is accordingly disposed of,” said the bench, which also included justices PS Narasimha and JB Pardiwala.
During the brief hearing, the bench found favour with the views of a lawyer intervening in the matter that any judicial mandate may actually prove counter-productive for women.
“We did not entertain this but he has a point. If you compel employers to grant menstrual leave, it may disincentivise them from hiring women. Also, this is clearly a policy matter…So, we are not dealing with this,” added the court.
The PIL by advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi harped upon the 1961 Maternity Benefit Act for allowing monthly leave for girl students and working women at their respective workplaces during their menstrual cycle.
Tripathi contended that the Act makes provisions for almost all the problems faced by women related to maternity in their true spirit.
“The provisions of the Act have made it mandatory for employers to grant paid leave to its women employees for a certain number of days during her pregnancy, in case of miscarriage, for tubectomy operation, and also in case of illness as well as medical complications arising out of these stages of maternity,” said the plea, claiming the state governments have failed in complying with the law in the letter and spirit.
Tripathi urged the court to issue directive to the state governments for framing suitable leave rules for menstrual pain leaves for female students and working-class women at their respective workplaces.