The Bombay High Court recently granted maternity leave to a woman who had attained motherhood through surrogacy. The Court relied upon the judgment of Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court in the case of Dr. Mrs. Hema Vijay Menon v. State of Maharashtra & Ors, wherein it was held,
“A woman cannot be discriminated, as far as maternity benefits are concerned, only on the ground that she has obtained the baby through surrogacy. Though the petitioner did not give birth to the child, the child was placed in the secured hands of the petitioner as soon as it was born. A newly born child cannot be left at the mercy of others. A maternity leave to the commissioning mother like the petitioner would be necessary. A newly born child needs rearing and that is the most crucial period during which the child requires the care and attention of his mother. There is a tremendous amount of learning that takes place in the first year of the baby’s life, the baby learns a lot too. Also, the bond of affection has to be developed. A mother, as already stated hereinabove, would include a commissioning mother or a mother securing a child through surrogacy. Any other interpretation would result in frustrating the object of providing maternity leave to a mother, who has begotten the child.”
Having considered Rule 551 (C) and (E) of Child Adoption Leave and Rules, the Court ruled that there is nothing in the said provisions which would dis-entitle maternity leave to a women who has attained motherhood through surrogacy procedure.
If you or your colleagues are considering surrogacy, be rest assured, that the maternity leave benefit is available in such an situation.