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Maternity, a fundamental right: Allahabad HC

Giving birth to a child and the subsequent maternity benefits are the fundamental rights of a woman which can never be denied, said the Allahabad HC while hearing a petition filed by a female college student, and noted that denial of such benefits by the university to the girl students is a violation of Article 14, 15(3) and 21.

The Court held that the university must give another chance to take the examination to the student and directed the pleader to submit a representation along with her medical documents to the university.

There were three issues before the Court. Firstly, whether giving birth to a child is a fundamental right, whether such right and maternity benefits be denied by the university in the absence of any rule in this regard, and thirdly, the petitioner was entitled to what kind of maternity relief and to what extent.

The APJ Abdul Kalam University has been directed by the Court to formulate adequate rules for providing the said benefits to the undergraduate girls including pre and post birth support and other necessary benefits. The rules must also include provisions to increase the additional opportunity and time period to pass the examination, for such students.

This matter began when the petitioner, Soumya Tiwari, who is a B. Tech student of batch 2013-14 at Krishna Institute of Technology, Kanpur, could not appear in the 3rd semester examination due to her pregnancy and post birth recovery, because of which she failed to complete her course.

Her demand for additional opportunity was rejected by the university, which had her filing a plea for additional opportunity to appear in the examination.

- Malaika Kadam

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