Denying Child Care Leave To Mothers Of Disabled Children Is Deemed A Violation Of Constitutional Duty: Supreme Court






A division bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala of the Supreme Court, in a significant ruling, emphasized the Constitutional obligation to uphold gender equality in the workforce.

The bench underscored the significance of Child Care Leaves for mothers with children having disabilities. The court asserted that withholding child-care leaves (CCL) from such mothers would contravene the Constitutional duty to promote parity in women’s participation in the workforce.

Child Care Leave subserves an important Constitutional objective where women are not denied an equal opportunity in the workforce. This (a denial of CCL) may compel a mother to leave the workforce and it applies to a mother more who has a child with special needs”.

The court issued a ruling in a case involving an assistant professor employed at a college in Nalagarh, Himachal Pradesh. The professor was denied leave to care for her son, who had been afflicted with genetic disorders from birth, due to having utilized all her allocated leaves.

The bench said “We are of the view that the petition raises a serious matter of concern. The petitioner has raised the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. The commissioner has indicated on affidavit that no policy of CCL has been formulated. Participation of women in the workforce is not a matter of privilege but a constitutional requirement and the State as a model employer cannot be oblivious of this”.

The Court directed the State government of Himachal Pradesh to amend its CCL policy to align with the stipulations of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, “We direct the State of Himachal Pradesh to reconsider CCL to mothers consistent with the RPWD act for mothers who are bringing up mothers of children with special needs”.

The Court has mandated the establishment of a committee to oversee the implementation of the stipulated reforms. This committee, to be formed by the State’s Chief Secretary, will comprise the State Commissioner under the Rights of Persons with Disability Act, along with the Secretaries of the Department of Women and Child Development and the Social Welfare Department.

The committee is tasked with collaborating with the Secretary of the Central government’s Social Welfare Department to compile a comprehensive report by July 31, 2024, as per the Court’s directives.

Furthermore, the Court has requested a response from the Central government regarding the aforementioned issue.

The petitioner, an assistant professor, had previously sought relief from the Himachal Pradesh High Court after being denied further leaves upon exhausting her allotted leave entitlement. As the High Court dismissed her appeal, she subsequently pursued the matter by filing an appeal before the Supreme Court.

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