The Delhi High Court has held that Contractual women are eligible for maternity benefits to adjudicate upon the issue.
A Delhi High Court single judge bench of Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, in its July 26 order, said, “Maternity benefits do not merely arise out of the statutory right or contractual relationship between an employer and employee but are a fundamental and integral part of the identity and dignity of a woman who chooses to start a family and bear a child.”
“The liberty to carry a child is a fundamental right that the Constitution of the Country grants its citizens under Article 21”, Justice Chandra Dhari Singh’s order said.
“Further, the choice not to carry a child is an extension of this fundamental right. However, to stand in the way of the exercise of this right by a woman, without procedure or intervention of law, is not only violative of the fundamental rights granted by the Constitution of India but also against the basic tenets of social justice”, Justice Chandra Dhari Singh order added.
Accordingly, considering the entirety of the matter and the law laid down, the instant petition is allowed with the following directions:
I. The respondent shall release all medical, monetary, and other benefits that accrued in favour of the petitioner on account of her pregnancy, as per the terms of the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017.
II. Since, no extreme medical or other exigencies have been presented by the petitioner, ante-natal or post-natal, she shall be entitled to the benefits for the time period as provided under the Maternity Benefit Act, 2017 of 26 weeks.
III. The needful shall be done by the respondent within a period of three months from the date of receipt of this order.
The official order was shared by Live Law which can be read by a click here.