HC fines principal for not considering maternity leave

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) The Delhi High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the principal of Delhi Institute of Pharmaceutical Science and Research (DIPSR) for refusing to grant maternity leave to a student and wasting her one year wrongfully.

Principal S S Agrawal did not adjust the maternity leave of Seema Sharma, who had to appear for her masters degree examination last year, as she was short of attendance. He even did not consider the clause of the Delhi University Ordinance where the maternity leave was treated as a special case.

Considering the conduct of the principal of DIPSR as illegal, the court directed the college to strictly comply with the Delhi University Ordinance which clearly says that a student is entitled to maternity leave of three months in an academic year.

Justice Gita Mittal directed the college to allow the student to appear in the examination as per the norms saying that the ordinance provides special category to married women student who were granted maternity leave not exceeding three months. They would also be required to complete the duration of the course as regular students and take the written examination as the case may be in January instead of August of that year.

In my view the petitioner had been illegally and wrongfully denied the admit card by the principal as the maternity leave was treated as special class under the clause VII of the ordinance.

Petitioner's counsel S K Taneja and Puneet Taneja said Seema Sharma had appeared in the 2006-2007 session which began from July 26, 2006. She had got married on July 6, 2006 and was on the family way. Despite her pregnancy she persued her studies and regularly attended the classes. She was hospitalised on May 7, 2007 and gave birth to a baby boy on May 8, 2007. She then sent her application for maternity leave to the college.

Mr Taneja said that as per the university rules she was entitled to 60 days leave but she resumed her classes after 42 days of maternity leave. Later, when she went to collect her admit card for the examination she was denied the same on the ground that she did not have the requisite attendance. Despite all efforts the principal refused to consider her maternity leave whereby she lost her valuable one year.

The court said that the petitioner has been compelled to seek legal redressal for no justifiable reasons, therefore the college and its principal should be burdened with the costs.

The court imposed the fine and directed the college to allow the student to appear in the examination as soon as possible.

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