Supreme Court annuls limited maternity leave

KATHMANDU: Stating that the existing legal provisions for maternity leave have curtailed the fundamental rights of working mothers and their new born babies, the Supreme Court today scrapped the existing provisions which provided maternity leave to working women for just two times.

A three-member bench of justices Khil Raj Regmi, Bala Ram KC and Girish Chandra Lal scrapped the existing legal provisions stating that the provisions have restricted fundamental rights guaranteed by the Interim Constitution of Nepal.

“These provisions conflict with Article 20 (2) of the Interim Constitution of Nepal which guarantees woman’s right to reproductive health and other related matters, hence they can not exist,” the bench said.

The bench also directed the government authorities-the Office of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Women Children and Social Affairs-to promulgate appropriate legal provisions in this regard.

The bench also observed that since the Constitution has ensured the right to equality and breastfeeding for child as fundamental rights, the existing legal provisions could not limit these rights by putting limits on working mothers’ maternity leave. The provisions regarding the service of appellate court judges, police, government staffs, working journalists and teachers have guaranteed two times maternity leave for women staffs.

Stating that these legal provisions are against the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution, advocate Achyut Prasad Kharel moved the apex court two years ago. The petitioner also sought the apex court order to the government authorities to provide special allowances and protection for women during a reasonable period before and after child birth and ensure paid leave and adequate social security benefits.

Scrapped provisions

• Appellate and District

Court Judges Remuneration Act, 2055

• Nepal Health Service

Regulation, 2055

• Nepal Bar Council Staffs Regulation, 2055

• Staffs of Office of Auditor General Regulation, 2050

• Civil Service Regulation, 2050

• Labour Regulation, 2050

• Police Regulation, 2049

• Armed Police Force

Regulation, 2060

• Local Self Governance

Regulation, 2056

• Working Journalist

Regulation, 2053