Supreme Court reserves verdict on PIL alleging rise in child marriages

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its judgement on a PIL of an NGO which alleged a rise in child marriages in the country, reported PTI. The PIL also alleges non-implementation of the relevant statute in “letter and spirit”.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra heard submissions from the counsel of the petitioner, `Society for Enlightenment and Voluntary Action`, and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, before reserving the verdict.

As per the PTI report, the Centre claimed there was a significant decrease in child marriages in the country.

Earlier, the top court had directed the Ministry of Women and Child Development to file a status report detailing steps taken by it to execute the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act.

Supreme Court asks Centre to draft model policy on menstrual leave for women

The Supreme Court directed the Centre to frame a model policy on menstrual leave for women employees on Monday by holding consultations with states and other stakeholders, reported PTI.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D. Y. Chandrachud and Justices J. B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra reportedly said the issue related to policy and was not an issue for the courts to look into. Moreover, such a decision from a court on granting such leave to women may prove to be counterproductive and `detrimental` to the cause, as employers may avoid employing them.

According to the PTI report, the court asked the petitioner how the leave would encourage more women to be part of the workforce. It said mandating such leave would lead to women `being shunned from the workforce`.

“We do not want that,” the bench said.

The court said, “This is actually a government policy aspect and not for the courts to look into.”

“The petitioner says that a representation was submitted to the Centre in May 2023. Since the issues raise multifarious objectives of state policy, there is no reason for this court to intervene in light of our previous order,” it said.

However, as per the PTI report, the bench permitted lawyer Rakesh Khanna, appearing for petitioner and lawyer Shailendra Tripathi, to move the secretary of the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati.

“We request the secretary to look into the matter at the policy level, take a decision after consulting all stakeholders and see if a model policy can be framed,” it ordered, reported PTI.

The court emphasised that the consultation process of the Centre will not interfere if the states take any steps in this regard.

The Supreme Court had earlier disposed of a plea seeking menstrual pain leave for working women and women students across the country.

It had then said that since the issue falls under the policy domain, a representation can be made to the Centre. As per the PTI report, the senior lawyer said that, till date, no decision has been taken by the Centre.

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