NEW DELHI: A three-month-old toddler has moved the Delhi High court seeking the right to maternal care after his mother was denied maternal leave by her employer, North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC)
Considering the urgency in the case, especially his tender age Bench is held by Justices Najmi Waziri and Swarna Kanta Sharma underlined,
During a hearing, they said – “There is urgency in the matter, especially because at his tender age the petitioner suffers irreparably when with each passing day he is deprived of his mother’s care.”
Faced with the peculiar situation, the Bench appointed Advocate Shahrukh Alam as amicus curiae (friend of the court) for assistance.
“Petitioner is solely dependent on the mother’s feed for his survival and his rights are violated for no fault of him being the third child,” argued his plea.
It came on record that the mother worked for the NDMC and was denied maternity leaves under Rule 43(1) of Central Civil Services (Leave) (CCS) Rules, 1972, amended by an office memorandum dated June 20, 1988.
As per the same, the NDMC is obligated to provide maternity leave only if the employee has less than two surviving children.
The court ordered that – “A female Government servant (including an apprentice) with less than two surviving children may be granted maternity leave by an authority competent to grant leave for a period of 180 days from the date of its commencement.”
The petitioner, as a result, brought for Court’s scrutiny an office order of the NDMC of December 12, 2017, allegedly denying maternity leaves.
The Court order noted,
“The petitioner is three months old. He asserts his rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India to care for his parents. He is the third child of his parents and is deprived of the maternal care from his mother because she — a government employee — has been denied maternal leave by her employer North Delhi Municipal Corporation.”
The Court also said that some of the respondents hadn’t filed their replies despite accepting notices on March 3, 2022, and therefore, ordered payment of costs.
“They seek and are granted one last opportunity to file the same within two weeks, subject to payment of costs of ₹25,000 to be deposited with the Deputy Conservator of Forests(South), GNCTD,” directed the Bench.
Depending upon the soil type and topography the DCF was directed to consider planting of trees of the wide varieties, namely, Hingot, Kumttha, Phulai, Salai, Kaniar, Pisangan, Chudail Papdi, Amaltas, Pilkhan, Papdi, Kachnaar, Goolar, Badh, Kala Siris/Safed Siris, Bistendu, Dhau, Khair, Dhak and Ronjh in forest lands in the Southern Ridge.
“Each tree shall have a minimum of two years’ nursery age and a trunk height of six feet. A compliance affidavit, along with photographs showing before and after plantation status of the land/area, shall be filed both by the DCF and by the respondents,” the order added.
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(MARCH – APRIL 2022)