The state government’s maternity leave policy has been challenged by a faculty member at Ahmedabad’s IITRAM on the grounds that it is unconstitutional and in conflict with a law passed by the federal government. The state’s circular was contested by a female faculty member in the Gujarat High Court, which served notices on both the state government and Ahmedabad’s IITRAM (Institute of Infrastructure, Technology, Research and Management). The petition’s outcome would have a significant effect on the workers at institutions supported by the government or run by it.
Dr. Niketa Jain, the petitioner, began her employment as a visiting assistant professor (on a temporary basis for one year) in the department of mechanical engineering on June 3, 2019 with fixed monthly salary of Rs. 65,000. According to the letter of appointment, the appointment was subject to the general terms and conditions governed by IITRAM as well as other institute rules currently in effect.
She became pregnant while she was employed there on February 27, 2020, and requested approval for maternity leave by emailing the institute’s registrar. She was told that in accordance with a Gujarat government resolution dated October 11, 2017, a woman hired on a contract basis may take maternity leave for 90 days following the completion of one year, with the prior approval of the head of institute. And if she takes advantage of maternity leave before a year has passed, the time off will be counted as unpaid leave (LWP). She was informed that beginning on February 6, 2020, her leave would be counted as 90 days of LWP.
She claimed in the argument that, in accordance with a state government resolution, a woman hired on a contractual basis may take maternity leave for 90 days following the conclusion of one year of employment. The aforementioned resolution flagrantly contravenes Section 5 of the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961. She alleged that during her employment on a contractual basis, she had been denied proper compensation and the right of a woman to become a mother. She claimed that there is already legislation protecting a woman’s inalienable right to become a mother.