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The Madras High Court has held that it is a fundamental right of women to be a mother and nurture her child and for this the period of maternity leave is to be included in the service period.
It has been held by Justice N Kirubakaran that any law or rule providing that the period of maternity leave is not inclusive in the service period is null and void. It has been further held by him that for post delivery rest maternity leaves are very important as they enable a women to become a real mother to her child.
It has been further stated that the lady doctor who is a petitioner in the instant matter cannot be denied maternity leaves and the availed period of maternity leaves by the petitioner is not to be excluded from her service period as it is not only her fundamental right to be a mother but the nature also requires a women for child birth and without a women no child will be born in this world. He further stated that once maternity leave is approved and sanctioned it cannot be excluded from the service period and if there is any rule and regulation which provides that the maternity period will be excluded from service period then it will be null and void,
The court passed this judgement in the matter where the petitioner lady doctor was denied entry in post-graduate course due to her availment of maternity leave in her two year of service. The Petitioner was providing her service in Primary Health Care Centre, Sithurajapuram, Sivakasi Health Unit District since March 2015.
She availed maternity leave from July 4, 2015 to January 3, 2016 after giving birth to baby girl on 4 July 2015 and she resumed her duties from January 4, 2016 and has completed her two years in service on 19 March 2017.
The petitioner secured the admission in the postgraduate course in Kilpauk Medical College and was supposed to join the college from May 10, 2017 but she was not relieved from her service on the ground that she has not completed her two years with the organization as she has taken 180 day leave during her service period.
The court in this matter held that the mothers need proper rest, nurture, care and affection and no mother can be denied maternity leave and the period of maternity leave cannot be excluded from the service period.
It has been further held that no act, clause, rule or regulation can deprive women of her fundamental right to give birth and nurture her child and consequently cannot be denied maternity leave by her employer.
The court then held that the admission granted to the petitioner in Diploma in Gynaecology and Obstetrics for the academic year 2017- 18 would be valid for the next academic year 2018-19.
The court further directed the government to grant admission to the petitioner for the course of Diploma in Gynaecology and Obstetrics for the academic session 2018-19 without going through the procedure of entrance exam.