Srinagar: The J&K High Court has stayed a notification by government regarding ‘honorarium’ against maternity leave period of contractual employees’, observing it to be prima facie illegal.
“The expression ‘without honorarium’ appearing in the SRO dated 22 May 2014 prima facie appears to be illegal, discriminatory and unjust. This expression is adversely affecting legal rights of a large section of the society,” said a single bench of the court comprising Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar.
The court said that denying the benefits to contractual employees during maternity leave may force some women not to procreate and “it amounts to infringing of their constitutional rights guaranteed under Article 21.”
“Till further orders of the court, the expression ‘without honorarium’ appearing in SRO dated 22 May 2014, shall stay,” the court said.
A woman does not stay away from work during maternity leave out of her own volition, the court said.
“While making provision for grant of maternity leave, the women cannot be denied maternity benefits on the ground that they are contractual or ad-hoc employees,” the court said
The court was hearing a petition filed by woman through her counsel Altaf Haqani challenging the provisions of Rule-10 (iii) of SRO 255 of 2003 as amended vide SRO 141 of 2014 for being ‘ultravires to the constitution of India and Jammu and Kashmir.”