NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has granted the last opportunity to NDMC to respond to a petition by a three-month-old child against the denial of maternity leave to his mother, an employee of the corporation.
The high court said there was urgency in the matter as the child is suffering irreparably when he is deprived of his mother's care.
A bench of Justice Najmi Waziri and Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma took into account the tender age of the petitioner and allowed one last opportunity for North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and other respondents to file their reply to the petition within two weeks.
The bench said the NDMC and other respondents are given the opportunity to file the response subject to payment of costs of Rs 25,000 to be deposited with the Deputy Conservator of Forest (South), Delhi for not responding to the notice issued to them on March 3.
"Should the reply not be filed within the said time, the right to file reply shall stand closed. There is urgency in the matter, especially because at his tender age the petitioner suffers irreparably when with each passing day he is deprived of his mother's care," the court said in its order dated April 29.
The court directed that costs be deposited within three weeks and DCF may consider planting certain trees in forest lands in the Southern Ridge and stated that to the extent possible, community participation in the plantation and maintenance of the trees may be encouraged.
In the present case, the benefit of maternity leave was denied by NDMC in view of the petitioner being the third child of his parents and the petitioner argued that refusing him maternal care is in violation of his rights under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
The court noted that denial of maternity leave was based on the service rules which limit the benefit to female government servants with less than two surviving children.
Looking at the nature of the case, the court-appointed lawyer Shahrukh Alam as amicus curiae and directed that the case be listed for consideration on May 17.