The Bombay High Court has directed the State Coordination Committee to give its advise by July 10 to Maharashtra government on whether there should be provision for grant of special child care leave to its woman employees following a plea by a woman who has a disabled child.
The direction was given by a bench of Justices Abhay Oka and P D Naik two days ago on a plea filed by 34-year-old Deepika Sagar Nersekar, a stenographer in the court of Small Causes, who had sought child care leave citing Rule 43-C of the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, though she is an employee of the state government.
The petitioner has an eight-year-old girl child who is suffering from Cerebral Palsy Diplegia since birth.
She contended that a central rule provides child care leave but the state did not have such a provision and that it was the duty of the State Coordination Committee to advise the government accordingly but it had failed to do so.
The central rule provides that a woman government servant, having minor children below the age of 18 and who has no earned leave to her credit, may be granted child care leave for maximum two years during the entire service period for taking care of up to two children whether for rearing or to look after any of their needs like examination, sickness etc.
The bench ruled that if State Co ordination Committee is not in existence the same shall be forthwith constituted and this committee shall take appropriate decision expeditiously in any event on or before June 30.
The high court directed that such committee would tender its advise to the Maharashtra government about the child care leave provision on or before July 10.
The bench also asked the state to take a decision on the committee’s advise by August 16.
The high court held that if the state government does not grant such benefit, the ad-interim relief granted to the petitioner on February 23 shall cease to operate with effect from September 1 and the petitioner shall resume duty immediately.
However, if the state government decides to grant benefit of the special child care leave to such category of women government servants, then the case of the petitioner will be governed by the decision of the state.
The petitioner argued that it is the state’s duty to make a provision for medical care and rehabilitation of disabled children. Allowing sufficient time to a mother who is a government servant to take care of her disabled child will be a part of taking care and rehabilitate disabled children.
The state, therefore, has a duty to frame a law on this issue, she contended.
( Source – PTI )