Chennai: In a significant order, the Madras High Court has held that a woman who had a child through surrogacy is entitled for maternity leave.
The ruling was given by Justice K Chandru while allowing a petition by a woman employee of the Chennai Port Trust (CPT) seeking to quash an order of the management rejecting her plea for maternity leave in 2011.
"This court do not find anything immoral and unethical about the petitioner having obtained a child through surrogate arrangement," the judge said in his order.
He directed the CPT to grant leave to her in terms of Rule 3A of the Madras Port Trust (Leave) Regulations, 1987 (applicable for those going in for adoption) recognising the child obtained through surrogate procedure and to include the name of the newly born in the insurance scheme.
Justice Chandru noted the purpose of the said rule was for proper bonding between the child and parents.
The woman, an assistant superintendent in the Chennai Port Trust, preferred to have a child through a surrogate mother, with the consent of her husband, after her 20-year-old son was killed in a road accident in 2009.
After the surrogate mother gave birth to a girl baby on February 8, 2011, she applied for maternity leave to look after the newborn and also include the child under the family medical insurance scheme.
Her application was rejected on the ground that there was no provision in the rules for granting such leave to those who have child through surrogacy.
After hearing arguments from both sides, Justice Chandru said, "Even in the case of adoption, the adoptive mother does not give birth to the child, but yet the necessity of bonding of the mother with the adoptive child has been recognised by the Central government. Therefore, the petitioner is entitled for leave in terms of Rule 3A," he said.