Chennai, Jan 03, 2012. (PTI) : Stating that casual workers were also entitled to three-month’s paidmaternity leave if they had worked for 80 days in 12 months preceding, the Madras High Court today told the state government to regularise services of a woman who was denied leave and job byauthorities.
Passing orders on a writ petition filed by L Kannaki, who was denied maternity leave, not allowed to re-join duty and then refused regularisation of her job, Justice D Hariparanthaman said “Kannaki was unjustly denied maternity leave and employment when she reported to duty after delivery. The action of the authorities is totally illegal.”
The woman was working as a casual labourer at Exotic Cattle Breeding Farm under the Department of Animal Husbandry in Thanjavur district since 1988. Since 1993 the government had regularised services of hundreds of casual labourers there.
When in 1996 Kannaki became pregnant and requested for maternity leave, officials told her that she was not entitled for maternity leave being a casual worker. After her child was born in September 1996, she reported for duty. Theauthorities, however, refused to provide her employment.
She kept sending several requests and reminders seeking reinstatement and regularization of her services.
In 1999 though the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal directed the department to reconsider its decision to deny her employment, her claim for reinstatement and regularization was rejected in an August 23, 2000 order.
Citing legal precedents supporting claims of Kannaki and slamming theauthorities for their abject refusal, the judge said that as per Section 5(2) of the Maternity Act, women employees who had rendered more than 80 days of service during 12 months immediately preceding the date of expected child delivery were entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave with wages.
Rejecting the claim that if a job break was over 90 days, a casual employee could not be reinstated without consulting the employment exchange, the judge said the break in service was due to pregnancy and it had been proved by certificates and documents to prove that she delivered a male baby in September 1996.
The court directed the department to reinstate Kannaki within two months and regularise her job, besides paying her all monetary benefits from the date of regularisation.