The PIL highlighted the lack of recognition that is shown towards the end physical, emotional, hormonal and physiological trauma, that female employees have to bear during menstruation.
On Monday, the Centre and Delhi Government were asked to consider as representation, a PIL that sought paid leave for female employee working for the government, inclusive of their contractual and daily wage workers, during their menstruation period. (Delhi Labour Union vs UOI & Anr) A division bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan addressed the PIL with the Delhi Labour Union as the petitioner. Necessities such as separate and clean toilet facilities, free sanitary napkins, periodic rests for female employees were requested.
The Court held that authorities will decide on the representation when feasible. It will be in accordance with the appropriate law, rules, regulations and policy. The petitioner argued that there is a severe lack of recognition given to the physical, mental, hormonal and physiological trauma that female employees go through, even though they form a very significant part of the workforce in offices and establishments in Central and Delhi governments.
It was explained that muscle layers contract causing painful cramps. Some prostaglandins enter the bloodstream, causing nausea, vomiting, headache and diarrhoea. Sometimes, the pain is so extreme that it may lead to fainting and dizziness spells. The petition explained that the monthly menstrual cycle is additionally painful for women suffering from reproductive ailments.
The petitioner argued that Article 14, 21 and 42 of the Constitution of India are violated by the ignorance and lack of measures taken in providing these necessary facilities to menstruating employees. Biological requirements separate menstruating employees from other employees. Not acknowledging this fact is discriminatory and violate Right to Equality and equal protection of laws that is guaranteed by the Constitution to these employees.
It was also submitted that under Articles 15(3) and Article 42 of the Constitution, appropriate authorities are empowered to make the necessary provisions for female employees at the workspace. Additionally, the petition highlighted that numerous private employers have already started granting paid menstruation leave for their female workers.