“Equal Pay For Equal Work” has Assumed the Status of the Fundamental Right

The Jharkhand High Court has noted that “Equal pay for equal work” has assumed the status of the fundamental right in service jurisprudence.
Case Name: Employer in relation to Management of Food Corporation of India vs. Anil Kumar

CASE OF THE PETITIONER

  • The respondent (workman) was appointed on 04.12.1982 purely on a casual basis. The workman has never pleaded that either any appointment letter was issued to him or he was appointed against any sanctioned post or his appointment was made after following any selection procedure or through employment exchange.
  • The workman even did not bring on record anything to show that he was having requisite qualification for being appointed to the post of Hindi Typist in Food Corporation of India.
  • On 06.05.1984, the casual service of the workman was terminated which was challenged by him before the Central Government Industrial Tribunal No. 1 at Dhanbad. Vide Award dated 08.08.1990, the Central Government Industrial Tribunal No. 1 at Dhanbad held that the workman completed 240 days of service and since he had not been paid retrenchment compensation, so his termination of service was wrong and a direction was made for his reinstatement.  After his reinstatement in service on 10.05.1991, the workman is continuing in service on a casual basis.
  • It is a further case of the Management that on 03.02.1995, a Circular was issued inviting applications from internal candidates fulfilling eligibility criteria for filling up the post of Hindi Typist.
  • Though a co-worker applied for the said regular post, the workman/respondent did not apply for the same and chose to raise industrial dispute claiming regularization of service and got a reference made under Section 10 of the Industrial Dispute Act to vide Reference Case No. 76 of 1997.
  •  The said Reference was decided in favour of the workman holding that the concerned workman is entitled to regularization as Hindi Typist on regular basis since 13.12.1991 with full back wages and also entitled for pay protection from 08.05.1984 and a direction was passed to the Management to implement the Award within 30 days from the date of publication of the same.
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  • Being aggrieved by the same, the Management has preferred instant writ petition.

Observation made by the Court

  • The law is well settled that there has to be equality before the law. The workman is entitled to equal pay for equal work. Equal pay for equal work is not expressly declared by the Constitution as a fundamental right but in view of Directive Principles of State Policy, as contained in Article 39(d) of the Constitution of India, “Equal pay for equal work” has assumed the status of the fundamental right in service jurisprudence having regard to the Constitutional mandate of equality in Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. It ensures a welfare socialistic pattern of a State providing RC equal opportunity to all and equal pay for equal work for similarly placed employees of the State.
  • The court further held that “This Court is in full agreement with the Award passed by the learned Tribunal. I do not find any infirmity or any illegality in the impugned Award. No interference is warranted by this Court in the impugned Award.
  • As the workman already superannuated from his service on attaining his age of 60 years during the pendency of the writ petition, the bench held that he is entitled to all the benefits in terms of the Award dated 08.05.2009.

Case no.: W.P. (L) No. 3745 of 2009
Coram: Justice Dr S.N. Pathak

Also Read: The Courts Should Take a Lenient View when an Application is Made by the Defendant for the Production of the Additional Document

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