CHENNAI: A Division Bench of the Madras High Court has ruled that the maternity leave period availed of by woman government doctors also should be included as in-service and incentive marks should be extended to them in admission in PG medical courses. “The intention of the government to grant maternity leave and other benefits to protect the interest of the women and the foetus should not be lightly ignored. When the intention is to give the benefits to the women, the same intention should not take away the consequential benefits given to in-service women candidates by way of incentive marks.
Moreover, the object of giving incentive marks is to encourage the doctors who render service in the remote area or hilly area or difficult areas,” a Bench of Justices Huluvadi G Ramesh and M Dhandapani said.The Bench was disposing of a batch of writ petitions from P Sowmya and 25 others seeking to declare clause 9(a)(i) of the prospectus issued by the authorities concerned for selection of candidates for postgraduate degree and diploma courses for 2018-19 session in government medical colleges, government seats in self-financing medical colleges and seats in Rajah Muthiah Medical College (Annamalai University) in Chidambaram as unconstitutional and violative of the fundamental right enshrined under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution and consequently, direct them to accept their applications and scrutinise them along with other applications.
Accepting the arguments of senior advocate P Wilson and advocate V Subramanian, the Bench on April 11 said any service rule or clause should satisfy not only the public policy, but also the fundamental right guaranteed under Articles 14, 15 and 21 of the Constitution, as held by the Constitution Bench of Supreme Court in Central Inland Water Transport vs Brojo Nath Ganguly case.“We are, therefore, of the view that the petitioners are entitled to incentive marks and the respondents are directed to take into consideration the period of maternity leave as the service period for the purpose of awarding incentive marks.
“However, the incentive marks shall be calculated for the period of maternity leave, on the basis of the performance of the in-service candidates during their service in the rest of the period,” the Bench said.
The Bench also added that admittedly, the intention of the government to give incentive marks to in-service candidates for their services rendered in remote areas, is a noble one.