On Thursday (November 9th) Supreme Court disposed petitions filed by Advocate Anindita Pujari challenging the constitutionality of restricted access of the day care facility to children between ages 6 months to 2 years. The Court issued a circular dated June 28th, 2015, announcing establishment of crèche facility in the court complex. The Circular contained that the access to this facility would be confined to children between the ages of 6 months to 2 years. Hence, the petition was filed contending such condition as arbitrary and violation of Article 14, 19(1)(g) and 21 of the Constitution of India.
Senior Advocate Indira Jaising arguing the petition prayed that State has an obligation under Article 45 of the Constitution to provide for welfare of the children till age 6 in order to uphold the right of female lawyers for professional longevity.
The petition had requested for the upper age limit of 2 years to be relaxed and it was prayed that the day care was to be offered free of cost like other facilities within the Supreme Court. Other grievances taken up in the petition were with regard to lack of provision for nutritious meals for the children, capping the maximum number of children that may be admitted in the crèche to 10 children as well as excessive charges were imposed for availing the facility
The Apex Court by circular dated September 9th, 2016, waived the security deposit of Rs.5000 and halved the fee of the crèche facilities. Additionally, by an order dated July 3rd, 2017, the Court permitted children over the ages of 3 years to avail of the facilities of the day care.
On the hearing of August 30th a bench comprising Justices Ranjan Gogoi, A.K.Goel and Navin Sinha considered the report of the Secretary General, Supreme Court, showing the allotment by the registry of an area in the newly constructed annexe building to shift crèche and directed for all connected work be completed within three months and crèche be made operational with effect from March 1st, 2018.
Read the order here.