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PIL for Menstrual leave dismissed by SC stating that the matter fell within the domain of policy

PIL for Menstrual leave dismissed by SC stating that the matter fell within the domain of policy

On February 24, the Supreme Court declined to consider a PIL that asked for menstruation leave for female students and working women across India, claiming that the issue was in the purview of policy. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, JB Pardiwala, and PS Narasimha heard the plea submitted by Attorney Shailendra Mani Tripathi. 

One intervenor stated throughout the hearing that providing for menstrual leave may deter employers from hiring women. To this submission, CJI DY Chandrachud added that it was true that forcing businesses to provide menstrual leave might deter them from hiring any women at all.

Additionally, the bench stated that the petitioner could make a complaint to the Union Ministry of Women & Child Development. While dictating the order, CJI DY Chandrachud said:

"Having regard to the policy dimension in the case, the petitioner may approach the Women and Child Ministry to file a representation." 

The petition argued –

"It is accordingly a violation of Article 14 inasmuch as this Act differentiates women in the name of federalism and state policies. Despite that women suffer from similar physiological and health issues during their menstrual cycles, they are being treated differently in different states of India. However, women, having one citizenship, i.e., of India, must be treated equally and shall be conferred with equal right."

The petition also noted that Dr. Shashi Tharoor had introduced a bill in 2018 called the Women's Sexual, Reproductive, and Menstrual Rights Bill that called for public institutions to provide free sanitary pads to female citizens on their property. Menstruation Benefits Bill, 2017, another related bill, was introduced in 2022 on the first day of the budget session, but the Legislative Assembly ignored it since it was a "unclean" subject. According to the petition, this illustrates a lack of legislative motivation to advance the idea of menstrual pain leave.

Case Title: Shailendra Mani Tripathi v. UoI And Ors.

Citation: WP(C) No. 172/2023

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