The Delhi High Court has sought the responses of the Centre and the AAP government on a teacher’s petition alleging that her school has denied her the benefit of the recently-amended maternity law under which leaves have been extended to 26 weeks from 12. Justice V K Rao issued notice to the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government’s Directorate of Education (DoE), the private south-Delhi school and its vice principal seeking their stand on the woman’s plea by October 9, the next date of hearing.
The teacher in her plea contended that the amendment in the Maternity Benefits Act by which the leaves for mothers have been extended to 26 weeks from the earlier 12 has come into effect from April 1. She claimed that the school has denied her the benefit on the grounds that the DoE has not yet issued a notification implementing the amendment on it. She also said that the school was of the view that the amended law would come into effect from July 1 and the teacher has to avail the leaves as per the existing rules of the institution.
In her plea, filed through advocate Avneesh Garg, the teacher contended that the ministry had issued a clarification that women who are already undergoing leave under the un-amended act, are also entitled to avail the extended leaves under the amended act. The petitioner, who got pregnant in May last year and gave birth on February 1 after some complications, has claimed that as per a gazette notification issued by the ministry on March 31, the amended act has already been notified.
She also said that despite writing to the DoE several times to issue a notification to the school to implement the amended act, the department has not taken any steps regarding that. The woman has sought directions to the DoE to issue all such necessary notifications as may be required for ensuring due compliance of the amendments brought in the Maternity Benefits Act.