Chhatisgarh High Court: Government employee's who have children through surrogacy are entitled to maternity leave benefits
Justice Sanjay K Agrawal of the Chhattisgarh High Court ruled that women working in government offices having children through the process of surrogacy are entitled to maternity leave benefits as stipulated under Rule 38 of the Chhattisgarh Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 2010. The court reprimanded the government from discriminating between differential treatments meted out to a ‘natural mother’ and a mother who ‘begets’ a child through the process of surrogacy for availing of maternity leave benefits.
An application was filed before the high court by the petitioner challenging the dismissal of her maternity leave application on the grounds that she was not entitled to leave as she had begotten children not through the natural process but through the process of surrogacy. The main objective behind providing maternity leaves was to ensure that utmost care and respect is provided to the mother and the child. The court observed that ‘If maternity means motherhood, it would not be proper to distinguish between a natural and biological mother and a mother who has begotten a child through surrogacy’.
The court observed that the government cannot discriminate between an ‘adoptive’ mother and a mother who has begotten children through the process of surrogacy when it comes to providing maternity leaves. The court issued directions to the government to ensure that the petitioner is provided with maternity leave benefits from the day the children are born.
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