Surrogate moms too have same right to maternity leave: Orissa HC

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | July 03, 2024 IST

Orissa High Court

Cuttack, July 3: Women having motherhood through surrogacy have the same right to maternity leave as provided to natural and adoptive mothers, the Orissa High Court observed.

The single judge bench of Justice SK Panigrahi ruled this hearing the case of an Odisha Finance Service (OFS) officer Supriya Jena who was denied the 180 days maternity leave as she became a mother through surrogacy.

Quashing the orders against sanction of 180 days maternity leave to the OFS officer, Justice SK Panigrahi said, “If the government could provide maternity leave to an adoptive mother, it would be wholly improper to refuse to provide maternity leave to a mother who had begotten a child through surrogacy procedure. Maternity leave should be granted to employees who become mothers through surrogacy to ensure treatment and support for all new mothers, irrespective of how they become parents.”

Providing maternity leave for women having surrogacy motherhood ensures that they have the necessary time to create a stable and loving environment for their child, promoting the well-being of both the mother and the child, Justice Panigrahi observed.

Supriya, who joined the Orissa Finance Service on July 6, 1995, is now appointed as the financial advisor of Odisha State Police Housing Welfare Corporation, Bhubaneswar. After facing problem to conceive naturally, her child was born through surrogacy help of a Mumbai-based woman on October 25, 2018.

Then she was employed as financial advisor in finance department and had applied for 180 days maternity leave.

She rejoined duty after the leave period and got her salary for the due period. But a directive issued by the department ruled that the leave period could not be considered in her promotion. Later, her leave got cancelled citing that there is maternity leave provision for surrogacy motherhood under Odisha Service Code. The petitioner had challenged it in the Orissa High Court.

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