NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday directed the Central government and others to treat as a representation the plea seeking directions to grant paid leaves to all class of women employees including daily wage, contractual and outsourced worker during their menstruation period.
A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan directed the respondents to treat the petition and grievances mentioned as representation according to the law, government policies within a time frame.
The bench, while disposing of the plea, also granted the liberty to the petitioner to approach the appropriate forum later, if no response comes on time.
The PIL, filed by Delhi Labour Union, also sought directions to the respondents to provide special casual leave or paid leave as well as to ensure separate and clean toilet facilities, periodic rests and free sanitary napkins to women employees during their menstruation period.
Advocate Rajiv Aggarwal, representing the petitioner, also stated that female employees form a significant part of the workforce in the offices and establishments of the Centre and Delhi government.
"These employees perform all kinds of works including that of administrative, managerial, supervisory, skilled, unskilled, manual, operational, clerical and technical nature. These employees are employed through different modes of employment such as regular/ employees, ad hoc, deputation, daily wage muster roll workers, contractual workers and workers employed through independent contractors/ outsourcing agencies," the plea said.
It also added that menstruating employees form a separate class owing to their biological necessities and differences with other employees. The respondents treat these employees in the same manner with male employees in the matter of paid leaves, it added.
The plea said such practice of the respondents is discriminatory and violative of the right to equality and equal protection of laws guaranteed by the Constitution to these workers.
"Article 15(3) of the Constitution enables the respondents to make special provisions for women. Still, the respondents have not made any special provisions for these employees. Menstruation IS intrinsically related to human dignity," the plea said.
It also said a significant number of these employees menstruate and there is very little consideration or even recognition for the emotional, physical, hormonal and physiological trauma that these employees undergo during their menstrual cycle.