SC Directs Government to Frame Menstrual Leave Policy

On Monday, the SC instructed the Union govt to create a model policy on menstrual leave for women employees, following consultations with states and other stakeholders
SC Directs Government to Frame Menstrual Leave Policy

On Monday, the Supreme Court instructed the Union government to create a model policy on menstrual leave for women employees, following consultations with states and other stakeholders. 

The bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and including Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, emphasized that this is a policy matter best handled by the government, not the courts, as reported by PTI. The court permitted lawyer Rakesh Khanna, representing petitioner Shailendra Tripathi, to approach the Secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati regarding the issue. The bench requested that the Secretary consider the matter thoroughly and consult various stakeholders to determine whether a model policy on menstrual leave can be formulated.

 The Supreme Court also clarified that individual states are free to take independent steps regarding menstrual leave and will not be hindered by the central government's consultation process. This directive follows a similar stance taken by the Supreme Court in February when it rejected a PIL that sought to make menstrual leave mandatory for female students and working women across all states.

 At that time, the court reiterated that such issues fall under the government's policy domain, as reported by TOI. Senior lawyer Khanna noted that the Centre has not yet made any decisions regarding menstrual leave, according to PTI. Despite the absence of a mandatory policy, several companies, including Zomato, Byju’s, Swiggy, and Magzter, have already introduced menstrual leave for their employees, as reported by News18.

The Supreme Court's decision underscores the importance of creating a balanced and well-considered policy on menstrual leave that supports women in the workforce without leading to unintended negative consequences. The development of this policy will involve careful deliberation and input from various stakeholders to ensure it meets the needs of women employees while maintaining fairness and equity in the workplace.

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