The Division Bench of the High Court of Madras has upheld the right of a woman employee engaged on a temporary basis for paid maternity leave. The woman employee was engaged by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Coimbatore) Limited, and the Corporation had granted her leave without pay for the period of her absence.
The Court in its judgement observed that the woman employee had admittedly rendered qualifying service for maternity leave, and even assuming that there is a shortage of working days in the twelve calendar months, welfare legislation and the benefits cannot be deprived on mere interpretation and technicalities, as the interpretation of law should be liberal to ensure marching towards enforcement and it should not defeat the very purpose of welfare scheme.
The Court further mentioned that “a woman is not a pendulum and cannot be forced to swing between motherhood and employment, as the maternity benefit relates to the dignity of a woman”. The Court directed the Corporation to comply with the order of the Single Judge within a period of four months from the date of receipt of a copy of the judgment by it, failing which a cost of Rs.50,000/- will be payable by the Corporation and recoverable from the officers responsible to disburse the maternity benefit.
 Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (Coimbatore) Ltd., Vs B.Rajeswari (W.A.No.1692 of 2022 and C.M.P.No.11739 of 2022)