SC asks Centre to frame model policy on menstrual leave for women

The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to frame a model policy on menstrual leave for women employees by holding consultations with states and other stakeholders.
Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi | The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre to frame a model policy on menstrual leave for women employees by holding consultations with states and other stakeholders.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said the issue related to policy and was not an issue for the courts to look into. Moreover, such a decision from a court on granting such leave to women may prove to be counterproductive and “detrimental” to the cause as employers may avoid employing them.

How will the leave encourage more women to be part of the workforce, the court asked the petitioner and said mandating such leave will lead to women "being shunned from the workforce". "...we do not want that,” the bench said “This is actually a government policy aspect and not for the courts to look into, " it said.

“Petitioner says that a representation was submitted to the Centre in May 2023. Since the issues raise multifarious objectives of state policy, there is no reason for this court to intervene in light of our previous order,” it said.

The bench, however, permitted lawyer Rakesh Khanna, appearing for petitioner and lawyer Shailendra Tripathi, to move the secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati.

“We request the secretary to look into the matter at the policy level and take a decision after consulting all stakeholders and see if a model policy can be framed,” it ordered.

The court made it clear that that the consultation process of the Centre will not come in the way of states if they take any steps in this regard.

The top court had earlier disposed of a plea seeking menstrual pain leave for women students and working women across the country.

It had then said that since the issue falls under the policy domain, a representation can be made to the Centre. The senior lawyer said that till date no decision has been taken by the Centre

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