Menstrual Leave Will Disincentivise Hiring Women Employees: Supreme Court While Dismissing PIL
The Supreme Court today dismissed a PIL seeking direction to all the states to frame rules for menstrual pain leaves for female students and working-class women at their workplaces and observed that menstrual leaves will de facto operate as a disincentive to engage women as employees.
The Bench also expressed its displeasure on the filing of a caveat by a girl-law student opposing the PIL.
The Bench comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice PS Narasimha and Justice JB Pardiwala dismissed the PIL as the petition "falls in policy domain". On the caveat, the Bench observed, “Go to the library and study. This is a publicity oriented caveat. You have no business here”.
The caveat filed by the law student through Advocate-on-Record Sanjeev Malhotra said that the issuance of directions for framing of rules for menstrual leave may put women to a disadvantage and employers may not prefer to hire female candidates.
“Who are you? There is a PIL but who are you? The caveat is thoroughly misconceived. Caveat is dismissed with cost of Rs. 1000 (one thousand) to be deposited with AIIMS,” observed the Chief Justice. However, upon being requested by the Advocate, the Court withdrew its direction regarding payment of cost.
The Court, however, expressed its agreement with the caveator that if menstrual leaves are compelled then the same would de facto operate as a disincentive to engage women as employees.
“Let them (Government) frame the policy”, said the Court to Advocate Vishal Tiwari, who appeared for the original petitioner in the case.
"Bihar already has provisions relating to menstrual leave. Also, Spain", argued Advocate Tiwari.
“The plea under Article 32 seeks policy on menstrual pain leave for students and working class women at their workplaces and implementation of Section 14 of Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. Having regard to the policy dimension in case, the petitioner may make representation to the Ministry of Women and Child Development on grievance raised in the petition. Dismissed”, ordered the Court.
The petition, in addition to framing of rules for menstrual pain leaves for women, also prayed for issuance of directions to all States and the Government of India for appointment of inspectors to monitor the implementation of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
“Ironically, the most disappointing aspect in the direction of respecting the rights of working women, is that in-spite of a provision under section 14 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 that there will be an inspector for a particular area to monitor the implementation of such great provisions, no government in India has created the post of inspectors, forget about the appointment of such inspectors”, said the petition.
It further said that during different parts or stages of maternity, women undergo a number of physical and mental hardships, be it undergoing menstrual period, pregnancy, miscarriage or any medical complication related to these stages of maternity. In these stages, menstrual period is the genus and pregnancy, miscarriage, etc. are the species, which definitely needs the first attention of society and the legislature.
The plea said that it is an irony that women have played the most important role in the creation of human civilization and the same woman has been deprived of the role of decision-making in all the civilizations of the world since ancient times till date. Because in the patriarchal world, the interest of the male has always been at the top. The norms of morality have always been built in favour of men, read the plea
Cause Title- Shailendra Mani Tripathi vs. Union of India & Ors.