‘Women Who Become Mothers Through Surrogacy Entitled to Maternity Leave’: Orissa HC

Surrogate Mothers

The Orissa High Court has ruled that female employees who become mothers through surrogacy are entitled to the same maternity leave and benefits as those provided to natural and adoptive mothers.

A single bench of Justice S. K. Panigrahi made this remark while hearing a petition filed by Supriya Jena, an Odisha Finance Service (OFS) officer, in 2020.

Jena, who became a mother through surrogacy, was denied 180 days of maternity leave by her higher authority in the Odisha government. Consequently, she moved the high court against the government. The court observed that 180 days of leave is granted to female government servants upon the adoption of a child up to one year of age, in line with the maternity leave provided to natural mothers for the proper care of the adopted child. However, the court noted that there is no provision for maternity leave for rearing a child born through surrogacy.

“If the government could provide maternity leave to an adoptive mother, it would be wholly improper to refuse to provide maternity leave to a mother who had begotten a child through surrogacy procedure after implanting an embryo created by using either the eggs or sperm of the intended parents in the womb of a surrogate mother,” the court stated.

The court ruled that maternity leave should be granted to employees who become mothers through surrogacy to ensure equal treatment and support for all new mothers, irrespective of how they become parents. Providing maternity leave for these mothers ensures they have the necessary time to create a stable and loving environment for their child, promoting the well-being of both mother and child, the high court asserted.

The single judge directed the state government to sanction 180 days of maternity leave to the petitioner within three months of the communication of the order.

Read More: Supreme CourtDelhi High CourtStates High CourtOther CourtsInternational

Recommended For You

About the Author: Nunnem Gangte