In a new judgment, the Uttarakhand High Court has interpreted provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 to mean that a government employee cannot avail of maternity benefits for her third child, reports The Times of India.
The order was passed by a bench of Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice Alok Verma; they overruled a previous judgment by a single bench of the same court which had rejected the state government’s rule denying maternity leave for the third pregnancy and any other after that.
The single bench had upheld the right of the petitioner to receive maternity leave, citing Article 42 of the Constitution which covers “just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief”. The Uttarakhand government in the appeal however argued that Article 42 was part of the directive principles of state policy and could not be enforced.
This contention was accepted in the appeal and the state government’s decision to deny maternity leave for the third pregnancy was upheld.
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