Supreme Court Upholds Right to Child Care Leave for Mothers of Disabled Children

In a landmark ruling on Monday, April 22, the Supreme Court of India affirmed the right of mothers with disabled children to take Child Care Leave (CCL), stating that denying such leave constitutes a violation of constitutional duties aimed at ensuring equal participation of women in the workforce. The decision underscores the court’s commitment to gender equality and the special needs of disabled children.

The bench, led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice J.B. Pardiwala, heard a petition regarding the denial of CCL to a woman employed as an assistant professor in a Himachal Pradesh college. The woman, a resident of Nalagarh, had sought leave to care for her son, who suffers from a genetic disorder from birth. Despite her legitimate need, her application was initially rejected by college administration, citing her exhaustion of all available leaves.

Chief Justice Chandrachud highlighted, “The participation of women in the workforce is not a matter of privilege but a constitutional necessity. As an ideal employer, the state cannot remain oblivious to this responsibility.” The court ordered the government to be made a party to the case, seeking additional insights from Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati to address the matter thoroughly.

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This ruling not only provides crucial support to mothers in similar situations but also sets a precedent for the treatment of child care leaves as a fundamental right under the Constitution, emphasizing the importance of nurturing an inclusive workplace that accommodates all employees, especially those with demanding family responsibilities.

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