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A Provision to Safeguard turned into a Weapon: Section 498A of IPC

Abstract:

This paper talks about the misuse of gender-biased laws in India which is a major issue of this era. The research paper is made with the motive to understand how a provision of law made to protect women has turned into a weapon against men. The article includes statistics and court judgment supporting the argument that Section 498A of IPC has been misused on a vast level.

Misuse of Gender biased law an issue in India

India is not the safest country for women for sure, India is ranked 148 out of 170 countries in the “Women, Peace and Security Index 2021”. A study shows that the southern states of India are way better for women. The worst performing states in the matter of women security are in the region from Rajasthan to Assam. India is also bottom bottom-ranked country when it comes to son bias which shows that there exists a deep-rooted bias in India against females. Son Bias means a preference for a boy child over a girl child. So according to statistics, the women of our country are in danger, and they must be protected by the law. So, the constitution of India has provided women of India with some legal safeguards to empower them. [1]

There is no issue in providing safeguards to a woman, but the issue arises when the men of the society are considered to be the offender and the women are considered victims by the nature of the law itself. Let’s look into the detail of it:

1. Section 375 of the Indian Penal Code:

 A man is said to commit “rape” who had sexual intercourse with a woman under the following circumstances:

  • If the intercourse was against the will of the woman.
  • If the intercourse was without the consent of the woman.
  • If the intercourse with the consent of woman, when her consent has been obtained by putting her or any person in whom she is interested in fear of death or of hurt. Against her will.
  • If the intercourse was With her consent, when the man knows that he is not her husband, and that her consent is given because she believes that he is another man to whom she is or believes herself to be law­fully married.
  • If the intercourse was with her consent but at the time of giving consent the woman was of unsound mind.If the intercourse was with a women of age under 16.

One important area to be focused here is that in the Criminal Law (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, rape and sexual harassment were gender neutral laws and even the term ‘Rape’ got removed completely and it was changed with the word sexual assault. But this change of making rape a gender neutral crime faced a lot of objections by the group of women.[2]The arguments given by the feminists for rape not being a gender neutral law were that men are not equally vulnerable as women are, men always want sex, it is incapable for a women to rape a men, the after effect on women and men are different after rape. Because of This objection from the women of the society the law ended up becoming a gender biased law.

I would like to put light on few arguments raised for making rape laws gender biased in India, Firstly it was doubted if a woman can rape a man or not; The reasoning behind this argument is that if a woman forcefully tries to have sex with a man it will be physically impossible for her to rape a man as he won’t have an erection. But In a case study conducted by Sarell and Masters in 1982, 11 men were studied who had been sexually assaulted by women. The men faced humility, fear, anxiety and fear but the most important thing to see here is rather all the circumstances the men responded sexually. They had erections; and several ejaculated too. It was also concluded that anxiety might increase the sexual arousal.

In a recent study, it was discovered that 16.1% of the 222 Indian men polled have been pressured into having sex. Despite the fact that male rape is not as well studied as female rape, there are various facts that imply men are raped and that the prevalence of male rape is higher than often assumed. For example, for the past three months, a 16-year-old boy stated that his best friend’s mother had been sexually harassing him (2015). Male rape occurs, but it is rarely documented. Countries with gender-neutral rape legislation, without a doubt, have the lowest rape rates in the world.

2.And Section 498a of IPC (Cruelty Against Women):

one of the legal protection provided to women, it deals with the issue of  ‘Matrimonial Cruelty’ to a woman. Matrimonial Cruelty according to Indian Penal Code is a cognizable, non bailable and non-compoundable offence. The objective of section 498-A of I.P.C is to safeguard women who are being harassed by relatives of their husband or by their husband themself , but unfortunately now it’s known as the  most abused law in the history of Indian jurisprudence. Out of the 24-lakh people arrested under this law barely 15% is found actually guilty. [3]

3.Domestic Violence Act (2005) –

Another arbitrary law allows a wife or female live-in partner to exert centralized control over the household. This legislation’s definition of violence is so broad that it only takes a woman being insulted for her husband to end up on the wrong side of the law. The laws addressing abuse of women do not recognise the harm that men endure, demonstrating a judicial system that is unequal.

In India, the rate of false claims following the breakdown of a marriage, when the woman feels humiliated, is steadily rising. Men are not protected by the law from these humiliating charges, which leads to extreme measures such as suicide.

Section 498A of IPC a tool of Legal Terrorism:

Several individuals, jurists, and even men’s rights activists have expressed concern over the misuses of gender biased laws, highlighting misapplication of the law as a major reason. The for the misapplication of Section 498A, the dowry statute. According to some campaigners, up to 85% of dowry accusations are bogus, and India is unable of dealing with another failed catastrophic law that amounts to “legal terrorism.” Many men’s rights organizations are afraid that criminalising marital rape will be exploited far more than the anti-dowry legislation.

A men’s right activist Deepika Narayan wrote in her article in 2020 citing the misuse of 498A. I will quote what she said:

“A total of 111,549 cases were registered under 498A in 2020. Of these, 5,520 were closed by Police citing as false and overall 16151 cases were closed by police either because they were false or there was a mistake of fact or law or it was a civil dispute etc. That is 14.4% of cases were closed by police for not finding merit in the case. 96,497 men, 23,809 women were arrested under 498A last year making total arrests under this section 120,306.

18,967 cases were tried in courts of which 14,340 led to acquittal and 3,425 led to a conviction. 498A cases pending trial at the end of 2020 are 651,404 with a pendency percentage of 96.2%.”

Calcutta High Court also stated: Misuse of Section 498A of IPC by women unleashes “Legal Terrorism”[4]

Conclusion:

The section 498A of IPC was introduced as a protective shield for women against the cruelty they faced for dowry, but with time the act has been misused on such an extent that now it has overridden the positive intent of the provision. When the provision for safety is used to attack the opposite gender it does injustice not only to the people of opposite gender but to people of the protected gender too.

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Written By : Sushant Kumar Sharma

[1] Nirandhi Gowthaman, India Ranks 133 out of 167 countries in women,peace and security index, YOURSTORY

[2] Harsh Kumar, Gender Biased Laws In India, LEGAL SERVICE INDIA

[3] Supra

[4] Srinjoy Das, _Misuse Of S.498A IPC By Women Unleashes “Legal Terrorism”: Calcutta High Court Quashes Domestic Violence Case Against Husband & In-Laws_(August 21,2023), LIVELAW

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Protection to Women Under Industrial Laws

Abstract

This essay delves into the historical discrimination faced by women in India and the emergence of feminist movements to address gender inequalities. It focuses on the significance of industrial and labor laws in achieving social justice and gender equality. The paper highlights the challenges women encounter in the labor force, such as unequal opportunities, lower wages, and sexual harassment. It emphasizes the importance of equal pay, employment opportunities, and specialized protection for women. The essay also discusses the need for robust laws and implementation to ensure women’s welfare and empowerment. By examining various laws and protections, including maternity benefits and safeguards against hazardous work, the paper emphasizes the significance of creating a safe and equitable work environment for women. Ultimately, it underscores the importance of continuous efforts towards true gender equality and women’s empowerment through legal provisions and mechanisms.

Introduction

Half of India’s population comprises women, who have historically faced discrimination and continue to suffer in silence. Despite their nobility and fortitude displayed through self-sacrifice and self-denial, women have endured various inequities, indignities, and discrimination. The status of women varies across societies, be it developed, developing, or underdeveloped, yet they consistently occupy a disadvantaged position due to pervasive male dominance.

In response to this unequal treatment, various movements advocating for women’s rights emerged worldwide, leading to the concept of ‘Feminism.’ Feminism encompasses diverse social theories, political movements, and moral philosophies, all aimed at addressing inequalities in social, political, and economic contexts experienced by women. In pursuit of this concept, laws have been enacted and rights granted to uplift women, along with various declarations supporting their civil, political, and basic human rights.

Recognizing the social disparities, laws were formulated to achieve social equality and justice and to safeguard women’s rights. The framers of the Indian constitution were also conscious of this issue and incorporated provisions empowering women, leading to the enactment of new laws and amendments to existing ones for the betterment of women’s position in society. As a result of these collective efforts, women now enjoy a stronger and improved standing in society.

The pursuit of gender equality in labor and industrial laws has transcended boundaries, encompassing almost every important sector, including labor regulations. The core objective has been to achieve social justice by creating provisions that protect women’s interests, eliminate gender discrimination, and provide them with various benefits, concessions, and safeguards. These measures aim to secure women from the risks associated with their work and offer them special rights and remedies, particularly in industries such as factories and mines.

Women and Industrial Law

 In the quest for social justice, the legal system should serve as an instrument of distributive justice, ensuring a fair division of wealth and equal opportunities based on the principle of “From each according to his capacity, to each according to his needs.” Ensuring gender equality and safeguarding women’s interests in labor and industrial laws are crucial aspects of this pursuit.

Industrial law holds a position of pride in the legal framework, as it not only addresses labor and industrial matters but also encompasses social concerns affecting children, women, and other marginalized sections of society. The Indian Constitution, driven by the vision of securing social, economic, and political justice for all citizens, irrespective of gender, empowers the state to make special provisions for women and children. This empowerment has led to the enactment of several laws, including the Factories Act, 1948, Mines Act, 1952, Employees State Insurance Act, 1948, Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, and Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, designed to safeguard women’s interests and rights.

Challenges Faced by Women in the Labor Force

Despite the various laws aimed at strengthening women’s position, the participation of women in the labor force is dwindling due to multiple reasons. Job offers not aligning with their requirements create disparities between their potential and actual work. Moreover, security concerns, such as instances of sexual harassment in the workplace, and job opportunities mainly concentrated in the unorganized sector, further limit their access to benefits. Women also face challenges related to childbirth and domestic responsibilities, impacting their work-life balance. Consequently, women not only require equal rights but also specialized protection to achieve true gender equality.

Employment Opportunity and Equal Pay for Equal Work

Equal employment opportunity refers to providing both men and women with equal chances of employment, similar working conditions, and equal pay for the same or similar work. The principles of equality, recognized as natural law, are protected under Article 14 of the Constitution. Promoting equality in employment involves breaking down both horizontal and vertical occupational segregation.

In the case of Jitendra Prasad Singh v. TELCO[1], the court found that equality principles are substantially in the nature of natural law and that denial of equality would be a violation of the equality article, i.e. Article 14 of the Constitution. Promotion of equality in the workplace is a positive enforcement, as opposed to discrimination prevention, which is a type of negative right or negative equality. This entails dismantling both horizontal and vertical occupational segregation.

Article 39 of the Indian Constitution guarantees citizens, including men and women, the right to an adequate means of livelihood and equal pay for equal work. However, despite these provisions, women often face lower wages and limited job opportunities, hindering their career advancement. Eliminating this disparity necessitates further efforts and a concrete law to ensure equal wages and opportunities for women.

The Equal Remuneration Act of 1976 was enacted with the goal of providing equal pay to men and women for the same or equivalent job. This statute requires employers to guarantee that both male and female employees are given equal chances and that there is no discrimination based only on gender. Section 5 of this legislation states that while recruiting for the same or comparable jobs, employers must not discriminate against women unless employment of women in that specific position is forbidden or limited by law. In case Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co. Ltd. v. Audrey D’Costa[2], the court found that the authority should take a comprehensive view of the subject when determining whether the work is of the same or comparable kind and if the variations are of any practical relevance. This is because “differences in detail” are implied by the idea of similar work. These distinctions should not be used to undermine equality claims on minor grounds; instead, consider the tasks that are actually fulfilled as well as those that are theoretically attainable.

Sexual Harassment at Workplace:

Gender equality extends to protection from sexual harassment and the right to work with dignity, considered a universally recognized basic human right. Sexual harassment, including inappropriate remarks, physical contact, and compromising invitations, violates not only women’s fundamental rights but also their basic human rights. The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, 2013, aims to protect women from such incidents and provides a mechanism for prevention and redressal of complaints.

Despite the existence of legislation, cases of unreported harassment persist, often due to fear of reprisals and societal disrespect. To empower women to speak against such offenses, stringent punishments and increased awareness about their rights and protections are essential.

In the case of Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors[3]., Supreme Court held that according to Articles 14, 15, 19, and 21 of the Indian Constitution, sexual harassment of a woman at work would be a violation of her basic rights to gender equality and the right to life and liberty. The court determined that such an Act would be a breach of women’s human rights.

As a result of this case, the first of its kind standards were developed for women’s gender equality rights, which should be free of harassment in both public and private work. This decision prompted the Indian government to pass the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition, and Redressal) Act, which went into effect on December 9, 2013. This Act supplanted the Supreme Court of India’s Vishaka Guidelines for the Prevention of Sexual Harassment.

Special Benefits Given to Women

To further support women, various special benefits are provided, including maternity relief under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961. This act grants maternity leaves and other benefits to pregnant and lactating women, protecting their well-being during and after childbirth.

Additionally, women are protected from working in hazardous environments, such as mines, where their health and physical fitness may be compromised. Women working night shifts are also provided with safety measures to ensure their well-being.

Conclusion

National and international laws have laid the foundation for women’s welfare and protection, prompting movements towards women’s empowerment in labor laws. Benefits like equal employment opportunity, equal pay for equal work, maternity relief, and protection from sexual harassment have been granted. However, despite these measures, more laws and stringent implementation are needed to achieve true gender equality. A robust redressal mechanism is essential to empower women to raise their voice against injustices they face. To achieve a truly equitable and inclusive work environment, the nation must strive for the effective implementation of laws and protection mechanisms, uplifting women and ensuring their rights and dignity.

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”

Written by- Ankit Kaushik

[1]  Jitendra Prasad Singh v. TELCO, 1999 2 LLJ 43 (Pat.)

[2] Mackinnon Mackenzie & Co. Ltd. v. Audrey D’Costa, (1987) 2 SCC 469

[3] Vishaka vs. State of Rajasthan and Ors., JT 1997 (7) SC 384 (Bhanwari Devi Case)

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Examining the Scope and Coverage of the Maternity Benefit Act: Implications for Women in the Workforce

Introduction:

The Maternity Benefit Act is a pivotal legislation aimed at safeguarding the rights and well-being of working women during pregnancy and motherhood. Enacted to promote gender equality and provide adequate support to pregnant employees, the Act has played a significant role in ensuring maternal protection in the workplace. This article aims to analyze the key provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act, assess its impact on working women, and explore measures to ensure adequate maternal protection in the workplace.

  1. Provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act:

The Maternity Benefit Act, enacted in 1961 and subsequently amended, outlines crucial provisions that protect the rights of pregnant employees. It mandates employers to provide eligible employees with paid maternity leave of up to 26 weeks, including a pre-delivery leave period. The Act also guarantees maternity benefits, such as medical allowances, nursing breaks, and protection against dismissal during pregnancy. Furthermore, it prohibits employers from assigning physically strenuous work to pregnant employees and promotes a safe and healthy work environment during pregnancy and postpartum.

Impact on Working Women:

The Maternity Benefit Act has had a significant impact on working women, promoting their rights, well-being, and overall empowerment in the following ways:

  1. Financial Security: The Act ensures financial security for working women during maternity by providing them with paid maternity leave. This provision alleviates concerns about income loss during pregnancy and allows women to focus on their health and the well-being of their newborns without financial stress. The availability of paid maternity leave enables working women to maintain their economic stability and reduces the risk of women leaving the workforce due to financial constraints.

  1. Health and Well-being: The Act recognizes the importance of maintaining the health and well-being of pregnant employees. It mandates employers to provide medical allowances and nursing breaks, enabling women to prioritize their health needs, attend prenatal check-ups, and ensure the well-being of their unborn child. These provisions contribute to the overall health and safety of pregnant employees, reducing the risks associated with inadequate prenatal care and strenuous work activities during pregnancy.

  1. Protection against Discrimination: The Act prohibits the termination of employment on the grounds of pregnancy or maternity leave. This provision offers protection to working women against discrimination, ensuring job security and stability during and after pregnancy. It empowers pregnant employees to assert their rights and seek legal remedies in case of violations, fostering a more inclusive and equitable work environment.

  1. Work-Life Balance: The availability of maternity leave under the Act allows working women to achieve a better work-life balance. It provides them with the necessary time to recover from childbirth, establish breastfeeding routines, and bond with their new-borns. This support enables women to fulfil their maternal responsibilities while maintaining their careers, thus reducing the burden of juggling professional and personal commitments.
  2. Promotion of Gender Equality: The Maternity Benefit Act plays a crucial role in promoting gender equality in the workplace. By providing specific benefits and protections to pregnant employees, it recognizes and addresses the unique challenges faced by women during pregnancy and motherhood. This acknowledgment contributes to creating a more inclusive and supportive work environment, fostering gender equality and paving the way for women’s increased participation and advancement in the workforce.
  3. Positive Societal Impact: The Act’s impact extends beyond individual women and has broader societal implications. By ensuring adequate support and protection for working women during maternity, it helps to challenge societal stereotypes and norms related to women’s roles and responsibilities. It sends a strong message that pregnancy and motherhood should not be barriers to women’s career progression and that women should have equal opportunities to succeed in the workplace.

Summing up, the Maternity Benefit Act has had a transformative impact on working women by providing them with financial security, promoting their health and well-being, protecting them against discrimination, facilitating work-life balance, fostering gender equality, and creating positive societal change. It recognizes the importance of supporting women’s reproductive choices and ensuring that they can thrive both personally and professionally.

However, due to lack of awareness of the provisions and failure to learn the benefits the act offers has led to lot of implementational challenges of the act. A study was conducted to examine the awareness of employers about the recent amended provisions of the maternity benefit act and the data is as follows:

Awareness about MBA(Principal) Act, 1961 and MBA(Amendment) Act, 2017

 

A study was conducted to examine the awareness of employers about the recent amended provisions of the maternity benefit act and the data is as follows:

Awareness about the maternity Benefit Act, 1961

Sl. No Response Response percentage
1 Yes 75
2 No 25
  Total 100

Awareness about the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017

Sl. No Response Response percentage
1. Yes 58.3
2. No 41.7
  Total 100

Data from Impact of the Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 in the it /ites Industry

Data of table 1 reflects that approximately 75% of employers are aware about Maternity Benefit Act (Principal) 1961, but as shown in table 2 only 58.3% employers are aware about its amendment. Even in terms of this awareness, while there may be awareness about the increased leave for maternity, there was little awareness on the other provisions concerning crèche facilities. This data clearly indicates the failed attempt of the Government to acquaint the employers about the amended act. Lack of awareness about the provisions of the act may lead to improper implementation of it.

Can a female employee work from home while on her maternity leave?

 

Under the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, there are provisions that address the concept of work from home or remote work during the period of maternity. While the Act does not explicitly mention work from home as a specific provision, it does allow for certain flexibility and accommodations to be made for pregnant employees.

  1. Temporary Transfer or Change of Work: The Act states that if a pregnant woman is unable to perform her regular duties due to the nature of her work and the condition of her pregnancy, the employer should, if possible, offer her alternative work on the same terms and conditions. This provision can be interpreted to include the possibility of working from home or remotely during the maternity period.
  2. Nursing Breaks: The Act mandates that employers provide nursing breaks to nursing mothers for a specified duration during the day. These breaks allow mothers to feed their infants or express breast milk. In the context of remote work, nursing breaks can be accommodated by providing mothers with flexible scheduling options that allow them to attend to their maternal responsibilities while working from home.
  3. Flexibility and Remote Work Policies: While not specifically mandated by the Maternity Benefit Act, employers can adopt flexible work policies that include work-from-home arrangements for pregnant employees. Many organizations, recognizing the benefits of remote work for work-life balance and employee well-being, have implemented policies that allow pregnant employees to continue their work responsibilities from the comfort of their homes during the maternity period.

However, it is pertinent to note that the provisions for work from home or remote work during maternity under the Maternity Benefit Act may vary in practice and depend on the specific arrangements made between the employer and the pregnant employee. Employers should ensure that they adhere to the provisions of the Act and consider the individual needs and circumstances of pregnant employees when making work-from-home arrangements.

Challenges and Measures for Adequate Maternal Protection:

While the Maternity Benefit Act has been instrumental in ensuring maternal protection in the workplace, certain challenges remain. One key challenge is the lack of awareness and compliance among employers. Some employers may not fully understand their obligations under the Act, leading to non-compliance and denial of maternity benefits. Addressing this issue requires increased awareness campaigns and training programs to educate employers about their responsibilities.

Moreover, the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017 does not specifically address the eligibility of freelance workers for maternity benefits. The Act primarily applies to employees working in establishments that employ 10 or more individuals.

Freelance workers, being self-employed, are not considered employees in the traditional sense and are not covered under the provisions of the Maternity Benefit Act. They do not have an employer-employee relationship and are responsible for managing their own work and benefits. To help these workers, Government can consider amending the existing labour laws or enacting new legislation specifically addressing the rights and benefits of freelance workers. This could include provisions for maternity benefits, such as maternity leave, medical coverage etc. It could also explore the possibility of creating social security schemes that allow freelance workers to contribute to a fund that provides maternity benefits and other social security benefits. Such schemes could be managed by government agencies or independent organizations.

Additionally, the Act primarily focuses on formal employment relationships, leaving gig workers, self-employed individuals, and those engaged in the informal sector without adequate maternity benefits. To ensure comprehensive maternal protection, it is crucial to extend the Act’s coverage to encompass these workers and provide them with similar rights and benefits.

Furthermore, given the evolving needs of working women, there is a need to expand the Act to address emerging concerns, such as mental health support during pregnancy and postpartum, flexible work arrangements, and provisions for fathers and adoptive parents. These measures would contribute to a more inclusive and supportive work environment for pregnant employees.

Does maternity benefit act apply to contractual employees?

The maternity benefit act covers all women who are employed, whether on a permanent, temporary, or contractual basis.

According to the Act, a woman employee is eligible for maternity benefits if she has worked for her employer for at least 80 days in the 12 months preceding her expected delivery date. This eligibility criterion applies to all employees, including contractual workers. If the employee meets this criterion, she is entitled to avail maternity leave and other benefits as per the provisions of the Act.

Rasitha C.H. Vs State of Kerala & Anr

WP(C).No. 5507 of 2018

The Kerala High Court recently reiterated that women-employees are entitled to maternity leave, regardless of whether their employment is contractual or otherwise.

Allowing a petition filed by 35-year old Rasitha, who was denied maternity leave by the Calicut University on the ground that the terms of her contract did not envision the grant of such leave, Justice A Muhamed Mustaq held,

“The maternity benefit is not merely a statutory benefit or a benefit flowing out of an agreement. This court consistently held that it is attached with the dignity of a woman…. it was held that a woman employee cannot be denied maternity benefits merely because her status is a contractual employee. Therefore, the University is bound to grant such benefits notwithstanding anything contained in the agreement of contract.”

In view of these observations, the Court allowed Rasitha’s plea and directed the Calicut University to pay maternity benefits due to the Rasitha, as applicable in the case of other employees of the University, within two months.

Case Laws

Dr. Rachna Chaurasiya Vs. State of U.P. and others passed

Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.24627 of 2017.

The division Bench of the Allahabad High Court directed the State Government to grant maternity leave to all female with full pay of 180 days, irrespective of nature of employment, i.e., permanent, temporary/ad hoc or contractual basis. State respondent was further directed to grant Child Care Leave of 730 days to all female employees, who are appointed on regular basis, contractual basis, ad hoc or temporary basis having minor children with the rider that the child should not be more than 18 years of age or older.

 

  1. Ishwarya Vs. Director of Medical Education, Directorate of Medical Education and OthersW.P. No.12660 of 2017

The Madras High Court decided and had also dealt with in great detail the theory of motherhood. It is held in the aforesaid judgement that maternity leave cannot be denied and the period of maternity leave should not be kept apart or executed from service and maternity leave excluded from the period of service is “null and void”.

Conclusion:

The Maternity Benefit Act stands as a significant milestone in ensuring adequate maternal protection in the workplace. Its provisions have positively impacted the lives of working women by guaranteeing paid maternity leave, benefits, and protection against discrimination. However, challenges persist, including lack of employer compliance and gaps in coverage for certain categories of workers. To ensure comprehensive maternal protection, it is essential to address these challenges through awareness initiatives, extending coverage to all workers, and incorporating provisions that align with emerging needs. By doing so, we can continue to foster a workplace environment that prioritizes the well-being and rights of pregnant employees, ultimately promoting gender equality and societal progress.

References

Case Laws

  1. Rasitha C.H. Vs State of Kerala & Anr (WP(C).No. 5507 of 2018)
  2. Rachna Chaurasiya Vs. State of U.P. and others(Civil Misc. Writ Petition No.24627 of 2017.)
  3. Ishwarya Vs. Director of Medical Education, Directorate of Medical Education and Others(W.P. No.12660 of 2017)

Websites

  • Impact of maternity benefit act-https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/IJLMA-06-2022-0129/full/html?skipTracking=true

Article written by Amit Aravind

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National Award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer.”