NEW DELHI: The Uttarakhand High Court order denying maternity leave to government employees in case of their third child is anti-women and patriarchal, said activists on Thursday.
The court had set aside an earlier single bench order.
“The government or courts cannot behave as though maternity leaves are favour to women. The possibility of pregnancy is built into women’s lives. The problem is they accept an ideal employee as a male employee. They take that as the template,” said Kavita Krishnan, secretary, All India Progressive Women’s Association.
This judgment also builds the narrative that pregnancy is the sole decision of women and denies the social fabric of the country, activists said. This judgement puts the onus on women and intends to penalise them, they said.
In a country with a skewed gender ratio and a strong preference for sons, this judgment would be defying the prevalent social dynamics. The judgment has not taken the social factors into consideration, they said.
“This is wrong and disappointing. We have always been fighting for the rights of women and this (judgment) punishes women. At a time when women’s rights are such a major issue all over the world, the court should take such an anti-woman stand is extremely disappointing,” said Mariam Dhawale, general secretary, All India Democratic Women’s Association.