HC sets aside termination order

The Kerala High Court on Thursday criticised the action of the Kerala Women and Child Development Department in terminating the services of J. Vandana Sreemedha, a counsellor on contract at the Kollam District Child Protection Office, for taking maternity leave immediately after her appointment.

Allowing a petition by her against the termination of her contract, Justice Devan Ramachandran observed that “life as a new mother is like being on a roller-coaster and being a working mother is tougher. The minutiae of motherhood can never be properly contemplated and it involves navigation through myriad daily issues, which ultimately determine the health and future of the child. The mother's constant proximity to the child is scientifically proven to be absolutely unexpendable and this is why the provision for maternity leave are now internationally accepted.”

The court pointed out that the petitioner had been serving the office as counsellor on contract for several years with a day or two breaks and every time her contract was extended. Therefore, the competent authority had a duty cast upon on them to verify whether, in such circumstances, the petitioner was entitled to the benefits of maternity leave. But shocking, instead of doing so, the Director had held prosaically that the petitioner's request could not be acceded to and as if to blow most unkindest cut, held that her absence was unauthorised.

The court set aside the termination order and directed the Director to reinstate the petitioner in service forthwith and reconsider her application for leave and pass appropriate order in two weeks.

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Printable version | Sep 18, 2021 2:57:32 AM |

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