A public interest litigation has been moved before Delhi High Court seeking directions to the Centre and Delhi government to accord paid leaves for all women staff during their menstruation phase. The matter is scheduled to be heard on November 23.
The matter was listed before a bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice Prateek Jalan. But due to some reasons the bench didn’t assemble and therefore the matter is listed for November 23.
The PIL was moved by Delhi Labour Union through advocate Rajiv Aggarwal. The petition sought the directions for Delhi and Centre government to grant four days paid leaves for all women from all classes including daily wage, contractual and outsourced workers. The petition also sought the directions to pay overtime allowance to the menstruating women employees if they choose to work during their periods.
The plea mentioned, ” Female employees form a significant part of the workforce in the offices and establishments of the Respondents. At present, many employees employed with the Respondents for performing various roles including that of officer, employee and worker.”
The plea also stated, “These employees perform all kinds of works including that of administrative, managerial, supervisory, skilled, unskilled, manual, operational, clerical and technical nature. These employees are employed through different modes of employment such as regular employees, ad hoc, deputation, daily wage muster roll workers, contractual workers and workers employed through independent contractors/outsourcing agencies.”
In the petition it was also pointed out that a huge number of women employees menstruate and there is very little consideration or recognition for the emotional, physical, hormonal and physiological trauma they have to go through during their periods.
“Besides facing actual psychological trauma because of sudden hormonal fluctuation, the release of a large amount of extremely inflammatory lipids called prostaglandins constrict the blood vessels in the uterus and make the muscle layer contract, causing painful cramps,” the plea said.
The petition also mentioned that these prostaglandins sometimes enter the bloodstream, causing headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea.
“In our society, menstruation and complications related to it are still considered as taboo; they are shrouded in overwhelming shame and inability of female employees to discuss their bodily functions and impairments openly. There is a stark absence of official recognition for this actual, tangible and physical condition that only the female employees have to undergo every month. There is simply no opportunity or agency for female employees to frankly air their grievances and raise demands for menstrual benefits,” said the plea.