In case of State of Himachal Pradesh v Sita  Devi (CWP No. 647 of 2020)

The Himachal Pradesh High Court held that maternity leave is a fundamental human right and its denial is violative of Articles 29 and 39D of the Indian Constitution.

A bench of Justices Tarlok Singh Chauhan and Virender Singh observed that the object of maternity leave is to protect the dignity of motherhood by providing full and healthy maintenance to the woman and her child-

“Maternity leave is intended to achieve the social justice to women, motherhood and childhood, both require special attention,” the Bench added.

In 1996, the respondent was carrying a child and after availing 3 month maternity leave she assumed her duties. However, on account of her subsequent delivery, she was unable to meet the minimum yearly requirement of 240days.

The Himachal Pradesh Administrative Tribunal held that her period of maternity leave would be deemed to be continuous service in view of the provisions of the Industrial Dispute Act. However, The State , opposed the order of tribunal & argued that there was no such provision in the department for granting

maternity leave to the female daily wage workers in 1996 and moved the Hon’ble High court.

The High Court rejected this argument and held that, “Maternity leave is a fundamental human right of the respondent, which could not have been denied. Therefore, clearly the action of the petitioner is violative of Articles 29 and 39D of the Constitution of India”.

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