SC asks Centre to mull formation of menstrual leave policy

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Centre to mull the formation of a menstrual leave policy after consulting all stakeholders, including the state governments.

A bench, headed by CJI D.Y. Chandrachud, asked the PIL litigant to move a representation before the Secretary of the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development with a copy to Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati.

Disposing of the plea, the Bench, also comprising Justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said: “We request the Secretary, Union Ministry of Women and Child Development to look into the matter. After due consultation with all stakeholders, both the Union and the States shall consider whether it is feasible to frame a model policy on menstrual leave.”

The apex court cautioned that mandating menstrual leave policy might stop employers from hiring women at the workplace, clarifying its order will not come into the way of framing independent policy by the state government.

“This menstrual leave policy is purely a ‘policy issue’ to be considered at the governmental level,” it remarked.

The petitioner submitted that many private organisations in the country have brought menstrual leave policies on their own and worldwide, including the UK, China, Japan, Taiwan, Indonesia, South Korea, Spain, and Zambia, such a policy is already in place.

The plea, filed through advocate Shashank Singh, said that the ‘menstrual status’ of a woman is not only a right personal and intrinsic to her privacy but is required to be treated without discrimination and with dignity.

“This would require the State to come out with such measures which provide the required relief to a woman during menstrual pain so that she is able to cope up with the suffering and protect her personal right with dignity under Article 21 of the Constitution.”

In December last year, then Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani, in a statement in Rajya Sabha, said that menstruation does not call for a specific policy for granting paid leave.


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