The Allahabad High Court on Friday while hearing the plea of a woman college student said that it is the fundamental right of a woman to give birth to a child. No woman can be denied this right and the subsequent maternity benefits.
The court noted: “The university cannot refuse to give maternity benefits to the girl students. Doing so is a violation of Article 14, 15(3) and Article 21 of the Constitution.”
The court said: “The university should give additional opportunity to the petitioner to appear in the examination. The student has been directed to submit a representation in this regard to the university along with all her medical documents.”
The Court decided on three points in the case. The first one is on the question as to whether a woman’s right to give birth to a child a fundamental right. Secondly, whether maternity benefits can be denied to a woman student on the ground that there is no rule in this regard. And third, what kind of maternity benefit the petitioner is entitled to and at what level it can be given.
The court has directed the APJ Abdul Kalam Technical University, Lucknow to make rules for giving maternity benefits to the undergraduate girl students in which pre and post birth support and other maternity benefits are included for the girl students. And there should be rules to increase the additional opportunity and time period for the girl students to pass the examination.
The petitioner, Soumya Tiwari, has taken admission in B.Tech Electronics and Communication course in 2013-14 session at Krishna Institute of Technology, Kanpur. She passed all the semesters successfully, She could not appear in the third semester examination due to pregnancy and recovery after giving birth because of which she failed to complete her course.
She demanded an additional opportunity from the university which was rejected. On which she had filed a petition seeking additional opportunity for not being able to take the examination due to maternity reasons.