When Virat Kohli decided to take paternity leave – for the birth of his first child with actor Anushka Sharma – after playing the first test in the Down Under series and returned to India from Australia, he made his absence felt in the Test series. This opened up many debates and discussions about paternity leaves in India, how it is still unexpected and somewhat frowned upon, if not taboo. BCCI’S press release confirmed the news, stating, “(Virat) Kohli had informed the BCCI about his plans to return India after the first Test in Adelaide. The BCCI granted the paternity leave to the Indian captain and he will return after Adelaide’s first test series.” The 32-year-old Indian team captain, who is expecting the birth of his first child in January of next year, received equal amounts of praise and flak from his fans. While some lauded him for being such a wonderful and supportive husband, others thought he needs to perform his duty to his nation and be at the Test series, some even drawing comparisons between him and Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who didn’t take any paternity leave for the birth of his daughter, Ziva.
Virat’s decision to back out of such an important series led to a lot of debate regarding his absence as well as the fact that there are no provisions or laws for paternity leave in India. And although in 2017, a Paternity Benefit Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha, it is yet to be passed by the Parliament. The Bill, which was backed by Congress MP Rajeev Satav, emphasised that there should be equal benefits and responsibilities on both parents. In a statement, Rajeev Satav had then said, “Child care is the joint responsibility of both parents. They must devote time to the newborn to ensure its proper well-being.” The bill proposed that workers from organized as well as unorganized sectors can avail paternity leave for 15 days, but can extend up to 3 months.
The Bill also states that, “The maximum period for which any man with less than two surviving children shall be entitled to paternity benefit shall be fifteen days of which more than seven days shall precede the date of expected delivery. Provided that paternity benefit shall be availed up to three months from the date of delivery of child.” The Bill also intended to extend these benefits to adoptive fathers as well as those who have had children through surrogacy.
Follow more stories on Facebook and Twitter