Welcome to Drishti Judiciary - Powered by Drishti IAS

Home / Current Affairs

Constitutional Law

Article 42 of the Constitution

    «    »

Source: Himachal Pradesh High Court

Why in News?

Recently a bench of Justice Vivek Singh Thakur of Himachal Pradesh High Court observed that “To conceive, to give birth and take care of a child is not only the fundamental right of the woman but also a pious role to be performed by her for the existence of Society”.

  • The HC gave this observation in the case of The Secretary, Managing Committee of Loreto Convent Tara Hall School v. Sharu Gupta and others.

What is the Background of The Secretary, Managing Committee of Loreto Convent Tara Hall School v. Sharu Gupta and others Case?

  • The respondent woman was appointed in the school of one of the petitioners as an Assistant Teacher on contract basis.
  • She was working on extended probation period and later her services were terminated when she was on leave.
  • Petitioners contended that as per Service Rules, an employee, on an application, is entitled for maternity leave but in present case, complainant never informed the petitioners about her pregnancy and she never applied for any maternity benefits and filing of complaint by her is an afterthought in order to receive benefits from the petitioners for which she was not entitled at all.
  • Respondent said that the fact that she was pregnant was in the knowledge of Management as well as Principal.
  • Labour Commissioner-cum-Chief Inspector of Factories-cum Appellate Authority gave order in favor of the respondent, the petitioners approached HC to set aside the order.

What were the Court’s Observations?

  • HC observed that “The right to become a mother is also one of the most important human rights and this right must be protected at all costs and therefore, provisions of Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 must be enforced strictly wherever applicable”.
  • The court held that in case petitioners do not intend to accept joining of the respondent, as directed by the Authorities below, then they shall, in addition to the maternity benefits already granted by the Authorities below, shall pay compensation to the respondent amounting to Rs.15.00 lakhs (fifteen lakhs) in lieu of her reinstatement because any intent to thwart the grant of maternity benefits should be dealt with seriously in order to ensure implementation of the Act in letter and spirit.

What is Article 42 of the Constitution of India, 1950?

  • Article 42 as Directive Principles of State Policy:
    • Article 42 of the Constitution of India is related to the DPSP.
    • The DPSPs are a set of guidelines and principles given to the state to be followed in the governance of the country.
    • They are not enforceable by any court, but the government is expected to keep them in mind while formulating policies and making laws
  • Constitutional Provision:
    • Article 42 specifically deals with the provision of just and humane conditions of work and maternity relief. It states -
      • "The State shall make provision for securing just and humane conditions of work and for maternity relief.”
  • Purpose:
    • This directive emphasizes the responsibility of the state to ensure that working conditions are fair and humane.
    • It also calls for provisions for maternity relief, indicating concern for the well-being of women workers during pregnancy and childbirth.
  • Landmark Judgment:
    • Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Female Workers (Muster Roll) (2003):
      • The Supreme Court observed that to become a mother is a most natural phenomena in the life of a woman and for it, the beneficial piece of legislation i.e. Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 has been enacted with object to provide security to the working woman with respect to her service as well as extension of benefits.