Retired govt. employee gets relief as Karnataka High Court orders encashment of illegally forfeited privilege leave

February 28, 2024 11:04 pm | Updated 11:04 pm IST - Bengaluru

The High Court of Karnataka has directed the authorities to encash 90 days of privilege leave, which was wrongly forfeited from the terminal benefits of a retired employee in 2013 for the reason that her husband had not undergone vasectomy as per norms to claim maternity leave of 90 days, even though she had undergone tubectomy.

The court directed that the authorities should encash 90 days of forfeited privilege leave in her favour and pay the amount along with 8% interest with effect from May 1, 2013.

Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum passed the order while allowing a petition filed way back in 2014 by A. Alice, who is now aged 71. She had questioned the legality of forfeiture of 90 days of privilege leave. She was an employee of erstwhile Karnataka Electricity Board and retired as senior assistant at Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd., Bengaluru.

The authorities had sanctioned 90 days of maternity leave for the petitioner in 1983 under Regulation 130 of the Karnataka Civil Services Rules on sanction of maternity leave to the married female government servants having three or more living children. One of the condition for sanctioning maternity leave under this regulation was mandatorily undergoing tubectomy at puerperium. The regulation was amended by allowing the husbands of female government employee to undergo vasectomy as an alternative.

Pointing out that privilege leave was erroneously forfeited, that too 30 years after sanctioning, the court said that leave was illegally forfeited on the basis of hyper-technical interpretation of the regulations to mean that husband should also undergo vasectomy.

The court held that originally regulation contained only tubectomy as a condition for sanctioning maternity leave but later vasectomy is considered a reasonable alternative to tubectomy in cases where it is not advisable for the wife to undergo tubectomy due to health considerations.

Though this aspect is clear in the preamble of amended regulation, the elaborated regulation lack clarity, the Court pointed out.

“The intent behind introducing the requirement for the husband to undergo vasectomy is to provide equitable access to maternity leave benefits while accommodating diverse medical situations and preferences,” the Court observed while pointing out that the overarching objective of regulation is to restrict the number of children borne by government servants.

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