Millennium Post

High Court seeks Centre, UGC stand on relaxing attendance norms for pregnant, nursing women

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday sought response of the Centre and the University Grants Commission (UGC) on a plea for framing guidelines to relax attendance norms for women who are unable to comply with the same owing to pregnancy, child-birth and post natal care.

A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar issued notice to the ministries of Human Resource Development, Women and Child Development and Social Justice and Empowerment and the UGC seeking their stand on the plea by a lawyer.

The court also issued notices to the Bar Council of India (BCI), Medical Council of India (MCI) and the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) seeking their stands before the next date of hearing on May 28.

The petition by advocate Kush Kalra has also sought setting up of a high-level committee to give recommendations for securing and safeguarding rights of women who are unable to attend classes due to pregnancy, child birth and post natal care situations.

Kalra, in his plea, has claimed that many women drop out of educational institutions or are detained in a semester for being unable to meet attendance requirements due to pregnancy, child birth and post natal care situations.

The petition has contended that the benefits provided to working women under the Maternity Benefits Act ought to be provided to those studying in educational institutions and not doing so amounts to "discrimination".

It has claimed that representations were sent to the UGC, BCI, MCI and the AICTE to frame regulations or guidelines to grant relaxation in attendance requirements to women studying in educational institutions and are pregnant, have given birth or are in post natal care situations.

However, since no response was received from these bodies, the petition was filed, Kalra said.

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