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Can't deny leaves to mothers of children with special needs: SC

Cant deny leaves to mothers of children with special needs: SC

New Delhi: Denying leaves to a working mother who takes care of a child with disabilities violates the Constitutional duty of the state to ensure equal participation of women in the workforce, the Supreme Court observed on Monday. The court also noted that the issue is "serious", PTI reported.

An apex court bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala directed the Himachal Pradesh government to make a policy on issuing child-care leaves (CCLs) to working women with children with disabilities.

The court observed that the participation of women in the workforce is not a matter of privilege but a constitutional requirement. The court said that the state, as a model employer, cannot be oblivious to this.

Ordering that the Centre must be made a party in the case, the apex court demanded the assistance of Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati in adjudicating the matter. It also directed Himachal Pradesh to consider the plea by the petitioner woman, who is an assistant professor in the state, demanding CCL.

The petitioner, who has a child suffering from a genetic disorder and has undergone several surgeries since birth, exhausted her sanctioned leaves due to the treatment of her son. "The child care leave sub-serves an important constitutional objective where women are not denied an equal opportunity in the workforce," the bench said.

The court noted that denial of such leaves may compel working women to leave the job, and leave is crucial for a woman having a child with special needs.

The court directed the state government to revise its policy on CCL to make it consistent with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.

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