The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition that sought seeking the introduction of menstrual pain leave or period leave for female students and working women throughout India.
A Bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud dismissed the petition, observing that since the matter pertained to policy issues, it would be appropriate if the petitioner approached the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The Apex Court further noted a point in the petition, which said that forcing the employers to grant menstrual leave to female employees may disincentivise them from hiring women.
A PIL was filed by Advocate Shailendra Mani Tripathi before the Apex Court in January this year. contending that knowingly and unknowingly, people have always had a taboo on the approach of such subjects and the legislatives have taken up these issues.
The petitioner cited examples of companies like Ivipanan, Zomato, Byju’s, Swiggy, Mathrubhumi, Magzter, Industry, ARC, FlyMyBiz and Gozoop, which offered paid period leaves.
The petition sought directions to the state governments for framing of rules regarding menstrual pain leaves.
It further sought directions to implement Section 14 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961, which dealt with the appointment of inspectors to implement the provisions of the said Act.
The petitioner argued that as per the online research, only the state of Meghalaya provided for the appointment of such officers via a 2014 notification.
She said Bihar was the only state at present in the country, which provided special menstrual pain leave as part of a 1992 policy.
The petition further contended that the denial of menstrual pain leaves in all remaining states amounted to a violation of the right to equality of women under Article 14 of the Constitution.
The Advocate apprised the top court of the country that there were two private member Bills introduced in the Lok Sabha on related matters, but unfortunately both Bills have lapsed.
On February 15, the Supreme Court had agreed to give a patient hearing to the PIL.
Mentioning the plea before the Bench led by the CJI, Advocate Vishal Tiwari had said that menstrual periods have been largely disregarded by the society, the government and other stakeholders, but some organisations and state governments have taken notice.