Make it easy for working women to avail of Child Care Leaves : Appeal to PMO, GOI & States

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On September 11, 2008, Government of India decided to modify the provisions of Central Civil Service (Leave) Rules, 1972. It relaxed provision of Maternity Leave and also introduced Child Care Leave (CCL).

Introduction of CCL was a widely acclaimed move intended to support the community of working women in India. Initially it was envisaged for government employees but several prominent private sector companies too picked up this facility for their workforce as their demonstration of commitments towards the needs of working women in India.

In the real world of male dominated senior bureaucracy, however, availing these leaves remains a far cry. The situation is acute in cases of CCL applications since these usually dont accompany a condition certifiable by a doctor’s certificate. The CCL applications are routinely denied by the approving authorities without citing any reasons or at best citing regular workplace issues like shortage of staff. This skew is more pronounced for women employed in exacting sectors like uniformed services, doctors or other jobs with public interface. Various High Courts and even Hon'ble Supreme Court of India have come to the rescue of rare women who took the cudgels and challenged this gender bias. The other vast majority of sincere work force who don’t want to confront the authorities continues to suffer at the hands of mostly male supervisors who grudge the soft treatment meted out to working women on September 11, 2008.

It is an admitted position that leaves are not right of any employee but there is definitely a need to reduce the arbitrariness in granting the CCLs. We appeal to Hon'ble Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi, Hon'ble Minister of Women & Child Development Ms Maneka Gandhi and Hon'ble Chief Minister of Delhi Mr Arvind Kejriwal to make the process of granting CCLs/Maternity leaves more transparent and objective by taking these steps :

A.

Make the following provisions in the CCL rules as were suggested in the DOPT Office Memorandum dated January 12, 2015:

"In cases where a female Government servant applies for Child Care Leave for at least five working days, she should normally not be refused leave citing exigencies of work unless there are grave and extraordinary compelling circumstances that warrant refusal."

B.

Modify maternity rules in view of several cases (surrogacy/adoption) and judgments highlighting how needs of modern day’s mother/child have changed with times 

C.

The data of CCLs applied versus approved be made a performance criteria for the approving authority. All unapproved and hence unutlised CCLs be monetized as in the case of earned leaves.

Taking such steps is not only desirable as a women friendly measure it is also incumbent upon the UOI/State governments to do the same in view of the directions given by Hon'ble Supreme Court of India & Hon'ble High Court of Delhi in the following specific cases (among several others across the country):   

1. Kakali Ghosh versus Chief Secretary Andaman & Nicobar Administration& ors : Judgment dated April 15, 2014 in Civil Appeal no 4506 of 2014 arising out of SLP (C) 33244 of 2012 by Justice S J Mukhopadhaya & Justice V Gopal Gowda in Hon'ble Supreme Court of India 

2. Amandeep Kaur versus Union of India & ors : Judgment dated October 14, 2015 in WP (C) 6792/2015 by Justice S Ravindra Bhat & Justice Deepa Sharma in the Division Bench of Hon'ble High Court of Delhi

3.  Rama Pandey versus Union of India & ors ; Judgment dated July 17, 2015 in WP(C) 844 of 2014 by Justice Rajiv Shakdher in Hon’ble High Court of Delhi 

Sincerely

Vishnukant Saxena



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