Recently in the matter of Rasitha C.H. vs State of Kerala and Ors. WP. (C) No. 5507/2018, the Hon’ble Kerela High Court has reiterated that benefits of maternity cannot be refused merely on the nature of employment. In the present case in hand, the writ petitioner was working an Assistant Professor in Medical Microbiology on contract basis at the School of Health Sciences, in Calicut University. She had been working with the said institute since July 2008.
The issue in question here, arose when the writ petitioner was denied maternity leave by her employer citing non-permanent (contractual) nature of her employment as the reason for the same. Aggrieved by such an arbitrary denial of maternity benefits, she approached the Hon’ble Kerala High Court.
The Hon’ble High Court accepted the case of the petitioner. It was observed by a bench of J. A. Muhamed Mustaque, that maternity benefits are not merely statutory rights or benefits flowing out of an agreement. Rather maternity benefits are directly attached to the dignity of any woman. The Hon’ble Court also emphasized on the fact that a woman could not be made to choose between motherhood and employment as had been held in the matter of Rakhi P.V. and Others V. State of Kerala & Another [2018 (2) KHC 251].
In view of the said averments, the Court held that the University was bound to grant the Writ Petitioner, maternity benefits, irrespective of what was present in the Agreement for Employment and therefore directed the University to grant maternity benefits not only to the petitioner but to all other contractual employees as well.