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Deepika Singh v. Central Administrative Tribunal (2022)

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Case Brief

Petitioner: Deepika Singh

Respondent: Central Administrative Tribunal

Date of Judgement: August 16, 2022

CIVIL APPEAL NO(s). 5308 of 2022

[Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. of 7772 of 2021]

Citation: 2022 SCC OnLine SC 1088

Bench / Coram: Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice AS Bopanna

Statutes Referred:

Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972

Maternity Benefit Act, 1961

Constitution of India, 1950

Cases Referred:

KH Nazar v. Mathew K Jacob

Badshah v. Urmila Badshah Godse

Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Female Workers (Musters Roll)

Judgement:

Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has held that definition of “Family” has a broader meaning which is inclusive of domestic relationship, unmarried partnerships or queer relationships. It is held that a family can be of single parent for any number of reasons, including the death of a spouse, separation, or divorce.

It is further held that the guardians and caretakers (who traditionally occupy the roles of the “mother” and the “father”) of children may change with remarriage, adoption, or fostering.

“The predominant understanding of the concept of a “family” both in the law and in society is that it consists of a single, unchanging unit with a mother and a father (who remain constant over time) and their children. This assumption ignores both, the many circumstances which may lead to a change in one’s familial structure, and the fact that many families do not conform to this expectation to begin with. Familial relationships may take the form of domestic, unmarried partnerships or queer relationships.”

“A household may be a single parent household for any number of reasons, including the death of a spouse, separation, or divorce. Similarly, the guardians and caretakers (who traditionally occupy the roles of the “mother” and the “father”) of children may change with remarriage, adoption, or fostering. These manifestations of love and of families may not be typical but they are as real as their traditional counterparts.”

“Such atypical manifestations of the family unit are equally deserving not only of protection under law but also of the benefits available under social welfare legislation. The black letter of the law must not be relied upon to disadvantage families which are different from traditional ones. The same undoubtedly holds true for women who take on the role of motherhood in ways that may not find a place in the popular imagination.”

Drafted By – Abhijit Mishra