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Wednesday, March 29, 2023

SC dismisses plea for menstrual leave for women in schools and workplaces


The Supreme Court on Friday in its order dismissed a plea filed by a lawyer, seeking menstrual leave for female students and employees; after noting that it is policy matter; and we could not pass any order.

A bench of the Supreme Court, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chadrachud, passed the order on hearing the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by the lawyer, Shailendra Mani Tripathi.

“Having regard to the policy views, it would be appropriate if the petitioner approaches the women and child development ministry. The petition is accordingly disposed of,” the CJI said in his order and rejected the petition filed by Tripathi.

The Apex Court further said we didn’t entertain this plea, as if you compel employers to grant menstrual leave- it may disincentivize them from hiring women.

“This is a policy matter so we are not dealing with this. Sorry,” the Supreme Court today said in its order.

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Supreme Court by lawyer, Shailendra Mani Tripathi, seeking direction for allowing monthly leave for female students and working women at their respective workplaces during their menstrual period.

Tripathi, in his PIL, filed before the Supreme Court alleged that despite making all the provisions in the law to take care of women in difficult stages of their maternity, the very first stage of the maternity, the menstrual period has been knowingly or unknowingly ignored by the society.

Tripathi said he was directed by the Supreme Court to approach the women and child development ministry in the issue.

“Only women are empowered to propagate the human race on earth with their special ability of creation of human life, which we commonly call maternity. During different parts or stages of maternity, women undergo a number of physical and mental hardships, be it undergoing menstrual period, pregnancy, miscarriage or any medical complications related to these stages of maternity,” the PIL filed by Tripathi, said.

“In these stages menstrual period is the genus, and pregnancy, miscarriage, etc. are the species, which definitely need the first attention of society and the legislature,” the plea said and added that “Bihar is the only state in India which has been providing two days of special menstrual pain leave to women since 1992 through its Human Resources.”

“In 1912, the Government Girls School in Tripunithura, located in the erstwhile princely state of Cochin (present Ernakulam district), had allowed students to take ‘period leave’ during the time of their annual examination and permitted them to write it later,” the plea said.

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