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New Delhi: Maternity benefits are a fundamental and integral part of the identity and dignity of a woman who chooses to bear a child, the Delhi High Court has said while holding that a contractual female employee is also entitled to relief under the Maternity Benefit Act. Justice Chandra Dhari Singh, in an order released Thursday, said work environment should be conducive enough to facilitate unimpaired decision and ensure that a woman who chooses to have both career and motherhood is not forced to make an “either-or” decision. The Constitution, the judge said, gives a woman the liberty to carry a child as well as the choice to not carry one, and the importance of maternity leave and benefits is recognised worldwide to secure the health and best interest of the mother and the child.
“Maternity benefits do not merely arise out of statutory right or contractual relationship between an employer and employee but are a fundamental and integral part of the identity and dignity of a woman who chooses to start a family and bear a child,” the court stated in its order.
“To make sure that the women of the society are made to feel safe and secure, she should be able to make decisions in her personal and professional life, without having an implication or bearing of…
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