Archive for September 2008

Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

This is a very important piece of legislation giving vital rights to woman employees. It applies to women employed in factories, mines, plantations, shops or establishments in which 10 or more persons are employed. As per section 4 of the act, employers are prohibited from employing a woman during the six weeks following the day of her delivery, miscarriage or medical termination of pregnancy. Even woman are not permitted to work in any establishment during 6 weeks following the day of her delivery. A pregnant woman has a right to take leave on a request to her employer for a period of one month preceding the period of 6 weeks, before her date of delivery, if she is employed in an arduous work, or one which involves long hours of standing, or something adversely affecting her health or the normal development of the foetus. Every woman is entitled to the payment of maternity benefit at the rate of average daily wage for the period of her actual absence for delivery. The maximum period for which any woman shall be entitled to maternity benefit shall be twelve weeks of which not more than six weeks shall precede the date of her expected delivery. A woman employee can issue a notice to her employer stating that the maternity benefit to which she is entitled may be paid to her or her nominee and that she will not work for the period of maternity benefit. The said notice shall state the date from which she will be absent, date shall not be earlier than six weeks from the date of her expected delivery.Every women entitled to maternity benefit is also entitled to receive from her employer a medical bonus of Rs.250/-. In case of miscarriage or MTP, a woman shall be entitled to leave with wages for a period of 6 weeks following the miscarriage or MTP. In case of tubectomy, a woman shall be entitled to leave with wages for a period of two weeks immediately following the day of tubectomy.A women suffering from illness rising out of pregnancy, delivery, premature birth, miscarriage, MTP or tubectomy shall be, in addition to the normal maternity leave, entitled to leave with wages for a maximum period of 1 month.Every woman, who has delivered  a child, who returns to duty after such delivery is entitled to two breaks for nursing her child, during the daily course of her work, until her child attains the age of 15 months.The act also provides for appointment of inspectors who have wide powers for the enforcement of various provisions of the act. Further there are various penalties imposed on the employers who violate the provisions of the act. In addition, it is the duty of every employer to exhibit an abstract of the Maternity Benefit Act, 1961 in a conspicuous place in every part of an establishment in which women are employed.

Recently an order was passed by the Central Government which will benefit women working in government sector. Accordingly a women is entitled for a maternity leave of 180 days and paid leave upto two years for child care.


Marriage between Indians and Forigners

A marriage between an Indian citizen and a foreign citizen can be registered in India, under the Special Marriage Act, 1954. The conditions are:

a) The male should complete 21 years and the female should complete 18 years.

b) Both the parties should have soundness of mind to give a valid consent and they should not be having any mental disorder or insanity.

c) The parties should not have a spouse living at the time of the marriage.

The parties shall give a notice of intention of their marriage to the marriage officer within whose jurisdiction, at least one of them reside. The marriage officer will publish a copy of such notice in his office and will also send a copy of the notice to the office of the marriage officer, within whose jurisdiction the other party resides. Any person having any objection to the marriage should intimate the marriage officer, within 30 days of the publication of the above notice. On receipt of any objection, the marriage officer shall enquire into the same and pass an order in this regard. If the marriage officer upholds objection and refuses to solemnize the marriage, then the aggrieved party has to approach the district court for an appeal.  If the marriage officer overrules the objections, then the marriage can be solemnized. Three witnesses are required to sign a declaration witnessing the solemnization of the marriage. After the solemnization, the marriage officer will issue a certificate of marriage. The normal documents required are age proof, address proof and identity proof documents, in addition to photographs.