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Indian Court Allows Relaxation Of Rules For Single, Pregnant Students

Wed, 14 Jul 2010 12:14:5

Karina Plumber - AHN News Contributor

New Delhi, India (AHN) - Taking cognizance of "rapidly changing social trends" and the need to get "in tune with the realities," the Delhi High Court Wednesday ordered authorities to come up with rules that would allow pregnant women to miss classes.

The ruling came in response to a petition by two students of the Delhi University law faculty, who were short of attendance because of pregnancy.

The two students, both married, had claimed in the petition that their pleas regarding their attendance shortages were ignored by DU despite the advanced stages of their pregnancies.

Justice Kailash Gambhir, while admitting the petition, observed, "The Supreme Court (of India) has given liberty to live-in relationships and it has held that pre-marital sex isn't an offence." Gambhir suggested to DU as well as the Bar Council of India, which is the authority on legal education in India, to frame rules to deal with such situations.

Dismissing arguments presented by the university, the court also noted, "If any woman candidate is deprived or detained in any of the semesters just on the ground that she could not attend classes being in advanced stage of pregnancy or due to delivery, such an act would not only be completely in negation of the conscience of the Constitution but also of women's rights and gender equality this nation has long been striving for."

The high court compared motherhood to a "glory" and said the university could not prevent a woman student from appearing for examinations because she missed a stipulated number of classes due to her pregnancy.

The DU was asked to waive the attendance shortage of the two law students while the court said, "To punish a woman for becoming a mother is the mother of all ironies

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