Ruling that maternity leave is given for protection of the health of women government workers, the Madras High court on Thursday stayed the order of Joint Director of School Education (personnel) for recovering over Rs two lakh from the salary of a teacher who took 179 days maternity leave for her second delivery.
The woman had delivered a twin in the first delivery.
Justice S.Vaidyanathan of the High Court’s Madurai bench, said “it will not be correct to take into account the number of children one delivers during the first delivery to decide whether the maternity leave should be extended ignoring the health of the woman.”
“The intention of the maternity leave is to afford protection to the woman during the second delivery, it is not based on the number of children she delivers during the two deliveries,” the judge saidi in his interim order after hearing the petition filed by T.Priyadarshini.
The judge said “it is not in dispute that the petitioner had two children. But it is in the first delivery, she gave birth to twins, and hence twin born in the first delivery cannot be put against the petitioner to deprive the second maternity leave.”
The petitioner submitted that she took her first maternity leave in 2011 for 180 days when she delivered a boy and a girl.
Then in 2014, she applied for maternity leave and it was granted. But the Joint Director of School education had said having two surviving children, she was not eligible to apply for second maternity leave and directed the chief education officer to consider the medical leave as loss of pay and recover Rs.2,56,112 from her and remit the money in the treasury immediately.