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Supreme Court Upholds Cost of Rs. 50,000 On DU College For Dismissing a Professor While On Maternity Leave [Read Order]

Radhika Roy
31 Oct 2020 6:09 AM GMT
Supreme Court Upholds Cost of Rs. 50,000 On DU College For Dismissing a Professor While On Maternity Leave [Read Order]
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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal against a Delhi High Court Order which reintstated an ad-hoc Assistant Professor who had been removed from service by a Delhi University college during her maternity leave and upheld the cost of Rs. 50,000. A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee expressed grave reservations against the conduct of the college and...

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed an appeal against a Delhi High Court Order which reintstated an ad-hoc Assistant Professor who had been removed from service by a Delhi University college during her maternity leave and upheld the cost of Rs. 50,000. 

A Bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Indira Banerjee expressed grave reservations against the conduct of the college and stated that maternity leave could not be a ground for termination of services.

"Having a child is no reflection on a woman's professional ability, whether she is in the Army, Navy, judiciary, teaching or bureaucracy. We will not allow termination on this ground", observed the Bench.

The Court accordingly, dismissed the Appeal and upheld the cost of Rs. 50,000 which had been imposed on the college while noting that the Respondent must have spent quite a sum in fighting the might of the college. Further, imposition of cost was a good way of reducing frivolous litigation.

The Delhi High Court judgement of Justices Hima Kohli and Asha Menon, from which the Appeal had stemmed, was also commended by the Apex Court.

The Respondent had been working as an ad-hoc Assistant Professor in Sri Aurobindo College (Evening) on a contractual appointment which got renewed every four months with a notional break of one day. The last renewal of the contract took place in November 2018 and in January 2019, the Respondent sought for maternity leave of four months. The college, however, removed her from service in March.

The matter was taken up by a Single-Judge Bench of the Delhi High Court which dismissed her plea. However, on appeal to a Division Bench, the same was allowed and it was noted by the Court that seeking maternity leave could not be a legitimate ground for denying extension of tenure.

The High Court stated that such a denial of extension would be "tantamount to penalizing a woman for electing to become a mother while still employed and thus pushing her into a choiceless situation as motherhood would be equated with loss of employment" ; the same was violative of the basic principle of equality of law and deprived her of the protection assured under Article 21.

Click Here To Download Order

[Read Order]



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