SUNITA BALIYAN Vs. DIRECTOR SOCIAL WELFARE DEPARTMENT GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI
HIGH COURT OF DELHI
DIRECTOR SOCIAL WELFARE DEPARTMENT, GOVT.OF NCT OF DELHI
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(1.) THE present writ petition is directed against a no relief award dated 20th March, 2006 passed by the Labour Court in ID No. 175/2000, against the petitioner, wherein the reference made by the appropriate Government as to "whether the services of the petitioner were terminated illegally and/or unjustifiably by the management and if so, to what relief was she entitled and what directions are necessary in this respect", was answered by the labour Court as below:
"i accordingly, hold that she has not been terminated as yet and find myself in agreement with the Ld. AR for the management that she is absenting herself from the duties and, as such, there is no question of her illegal or unjustifiable termination from the services. However, the management is at liberty to take action as per the above referred provisions against her. The issue is accordingly decided in favour of the management and against the workman. "
(2.) THE brief facts leading to the filing of the present petition are that the petitioner was appointed as Anganwadi Worker with the respondent management with effect from 19th May, 1997. On 5th November, 1998, she was granted maternity leave upto 15th November, 1998. However, the petitioner extended her maternity leave. It is averred that when she went to join her duties on 25th January, 1999, the same was refused to her. Thus it was her case that her services were terminated by way of refusal of duties though she had gone on maternity leave. The petitioner claimed violation of section 12 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 (for short 'the Act') and raised an industrial dispute which was contested by the respondent management. It was stated that the petitioner had absented herself from duties with effect from 5th November, 1998 without any intimation or prior permission from the respondent management. It was also stated that she was an honorary worker and was not entitled to any leave and in any case, she had not applied for maternity leave. On the pleadings of the parties, two issues were framed. The first issue framed was as to whether the petitioner was an honorary worker and the second issue was in terms of the reference made by the appropriate Government.
(3.) AFTER hearing the parties, the first issue was decided in favour of the petitioner. While deciding the second issue, the Labour Court examined the provisions of Sections 6 and 12 of the Act, and noted that though the aforesaid provisions require a woman claiming entitlement to maternity benefit under the Act to give a notice in writing to the employer during her pregnancy or as soon as possible after delivery, in the present case, no material was placed on record by the petitioner, of notice given to the respondent management claiming any maternity benefit. Hence, it was held that in the absence of any record that the petitioner applied for leave, no benefit could be given to her. The plea of the petitioner that her services were terminated by way of an oral order was also turned down on the ground that there, was no material placed on the file that she made any representation against her illegal termination from service and that she raised her demand for the first time only on 12th July, 1999.;
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