NWMI condemns denial of maternity leave by Prag News, demands reinstatement of journalist

ITANAGAR, May 22: The Network of Women in Media, India (NWMI) has said that it is deeply shocked and concerned at the manner in which Guwahati-based journalist Ranjita Rabha was forced to resign from her position in Prag News.
“Rabha has been a journalist for 13 years and it is a gross violation of her rights that she was forced to resign by the highest authority of Prag News on the ground that she was pregnant and that the organisation had no provision of maternity leave for employees” it said.
The NWMI has demanded that Prag News authorities allow Rabha to withdraw her resignation letter and allow her to resume duties
with immediate effect and subsequently avail the maternity leave to which she is legally entitled for the required period at the appropriate time.
It further asked the National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Assam State Commission for Women (ASCW) to take suo moto cognisance of the issue.
Rabha has claimed that it was none other than the Prag News CMD, Sanjive Narain, who told her that the organisation has “no facilities for maternity leave and no salary will be paid.” According to her, Narain then directed her to submit her resignation letter.
The NWMI deplored the manner in which a media organisation, the primary duty and responsibility of which is to uphold the principles and values of a democratic and just society, respect for the rule of law and the rights of individuals and institutions, has failed to provide a basic right to its employees that they are entitled to under the law of the land.
The Maternity Benefit [Amendment] Act, 2017 clearly provides for paid maternity leave for women for 12 weeks, in addition to paid leave and extension of leave without pay or work from home facilities.
Every establishment in this country is governed by the Maternity Benefits Act and Prag News is not above the law of the land, NWMI said.