Delhi High Court Directs Centre and Delhi Govt To Consider a PIL Seeking Paid Menstrual Leave as Representation

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The Delhi High Court had provided direction to consider a petition as representation. The Central and Delhi governments were directed to consider the same. This petition sought paid leave for women employees during their menstruation period. This was for women employees under the government. It wanted to include daily wage and contractual workers within its ambit. (Delhi Labour Union vs UOI & Anr).

Brief Facts

Delhi Labour Union (petitioner) had preferred a PIL petition. The petitioner sought separate and clean toilet facilities for women employees. It also sought periodic rests and free sanitary napkins.

Contentions

The petitioner stated that female employees form a significant part of the workforce. They are present in the offices and establishments of the Central and Delhi governments. Unfortunately, very little recognition was given to them.

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The employees undergo emotional, physical, hormonal and physiological trauma during menstruation. Muscle layers contract and cause painful cramps. Some of the prostaglandins enter the bloodstream and cause several bodily imbalances. It causes headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. The pain would be extreme in some cases and might have caused fainting and dizziness spells. Monthly menstrual cycle was additionally painful for women suffering from reproductive ailments.

The petitioner argued that there were ignorance and inaction in providing facilities. It was further stated that this was in violation of Article 14, 21 and 42 of the Constitution of India. It stated that Menstruating employees formed a separate class. They owed this to their biological necessities and differences with other employees. The practice of the Respondents was discriminatory and violative of Right to Equality. Equal protection of laws guaranteed to these workers was violated too. The authorities were empowered to make special provisions for women at the workspace. This was under Articles 15(3) and Article 42 of the Constitution. Several private employers had already introduced paid menstruation leave for their female employees.

Court’s Decision

A Division Bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan had been setup. The court stated that a decision on the representation would be taken by the authorities. This was to be done under the relevant law, rules, regulations and policy. It would be fulfilled as soon as possible and practicable. The plea was disposed of. 


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