Supreme Court asks Centre, states to consider framing model policy on menstrual leave for women

It also made it clear in its order that this order will not stand in the way of state governments taking steps in this regard.
Last Updated : 08 July 2024, 07:43 IST

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday said it is for the Centre and all state governments to consider whether they could frame a policy for menstrual leaves for female students and women in their workforce.

A bench of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra noted that the issue is whether such leaves encouraged women to be part of workforce or mandating such a leave could mean women being shunned from being employed.

"This is actually government policy aspect and not for the courts to look into," the bench said.

Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi filed the PIL, seeking the court's direction for allowing monthly leave to female students and working women at their respective workplaces during their menstrual period across the country.

The court noted that though a representation was submitted by the petitioner to the Centre in May, 2023, nothing final had been decided so far.

Since issues raised here were related to multifarious objectives of state policy, there was no reason for this court to intervene, the court said.

The court, however, asked the Centre and States to look into the issue whether they could formulate a model policy or not on the same.

"We permit the petitioner to move the Secretary in the Ministry of Women, and Child Development and to ASG Aishwarya Bhati. We request the Secretary to look into the matter at the policy level and take a decision after consulting all stakeholders and see if a model policy can be framed," the bench said in its order.

It also made it clear in its order that this would not stand in the way of state governments taking steps in this regard.

Tripathi contended that despite making all provisions in the law to take care of women during difficult stages of their maternity, the very first stage of the maternity, the menstrual period has been knowingly or unknowingly ignored by the society.

"Bihar is the only state in India which has been providing two days of special menstrual pain leave to women since 1992," he said.

"In 1912, the Government Girls School in Tripunithura, located in the erstwhile princely state of Cochin (present Ernakulam district), had allowed students to take 'period leave' during the time of their annual examination and permitted them to write it later," the plea noted.

Published 08 July 2024, 07:43 IST

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