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The Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 regulates the employment of women in mines, factories, circus industry, plantations and shops or establishment employing 10 or more persons including any such establishments belonging to Government for certain period before and after childbirth and provides for maternity and certain other benefits. The aim of the Act is to extend the benefits to women workers in establishments which have not yet been covered under the ESI Act and those women workers who are not covered within the wage ceiling limit of Rs. 21,000/- provided under the ESI Act.

The Act allows the State Governments to extend the jurisdiction of the Act to other classes of establishments, with the approval of the Central Government after giving not less than two months notice of its intention of doing so. It may by notification officially declare that all or any of these provisions shall apply also to any other establishment or class of establishments – commercial, agriculture or otherwise.

My friend had presented judicial dictum by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Municipal Corporation of Delhi vs Female Workers (Muster Roll) & Anr, AIR 2000 SC 1274, & The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in a recent case of Anuradha Arya v. The Principal & Ors. the benefits provided under the MB Act will be applicable to all women employees, whether engaged as casual employees or on muster rolls or daily wages.
After reading the verdict I observed that here raised a demand for grant of maternity leave which was made available only to regular female workers but was denied to them on the ground that their services were not regularised and, therefore, they were not entitled to any maternity leave.
The case was espoused and consequently, the following question  was raised

“Whether the female workers working on Muster Roll should be given any maternity benefit? If so, what directions are necessary in this regard?”

Municipal Corporation of Delhi Vs. Female Workers (Muster Roll) And Another – in this case, the Apex Court held that the provisions of the Act i.e. Maternity Benefit Act entitled maternity leave even to women engaged on a casual basis or on muster roll basis on daily wages and not only those in regular employment, the provisions of the Act in this regard, held, are wholly in consonance with the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in Arts 39 specially in Articles 42 and 43.
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) in a recent case of Anuradha Arya v. The Principal & Ors. categorically stated that benefits of maternity leave with full salary cannot be denied to a female employee appointed on contractual basis and they are entitled to maternity leave as per provisions of Section 5 of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961.
Thus none of above supporting cannot be used for identifying the applicability of MB for ‘Consultant’. Hence, shall can’t agree to your disagreement as per the sporting presented.
Finally, to establish the applicability of MB on ‘Consultant’ shall like to refer the Ministry of Labor and Employment issued an illumination under notification – S-36012/03/2015-35-2, dated April 12, 2017 on MB (Amendment) Act 2017, wherein it was expressed that as there was no revision to Section 2(O) of the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961, the Act is pertinent to all women who are working in any way, specifically or through any organization i.e. legally binding or expert work.

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