State of Punjab and Ors. Versus Senior Vocational Staff Masters Association and Ors. - Synopsis
Lawteller 2 Jul 2018

EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK

 

It is cardinal principle of law that Govt. has to abide by rule of law and uphold values and principles of Constitution. Respondents herein alleged that creating an artificial distinction between persons in same cadre would amount to violation of Art. 14 i.e., equality before law and hence, such an act cannot be sustained. Doctrine of equality is dynamic and evolving concept having many dimensions. Arts 14, 18 of Constitution, besides assuring equality before law and equal protection of laws, also disallow discrimination which lacks object of achieving equality, in matters of employment. It is well-settled that though Article 14 forbids class legislation but it does not forbid reasonable classification. When any rule of statutory provision providing classification is assailed on ground that it is contrary to Article 14, its validity can be sustained if it satisfies two tests, namely, that classification was to be based on an intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things grouped together from others left out of group, and differentia in question must have reasonable nexus to object sought to be achieved by rule or statutory provision in question. In other words, there must be some rational nexus between basis of classification and object intended to be achieved by Statute or Rule. Principle of equality is also fundamental in formulation of any policy by State and glimpse of same can be found in Arts. 38, 39, 39-A, 43 and 46 embodied in Part IV of Constitution. These Articles of Constitution mandate that State is under constitutional obligation to assure social order providing justice-social, economic and political, by inter alia, minimizing monetary inequalities, and by securing right to adequate means of livelihood and by providing for adequate wages so as to ensure, an appropriate standard of life, and by promoting economic interests of weaker sections. Meaning thereby, if State is giving some economic benefits to one class while denying same to other then onus of justifying same lies on State specially in circumstances when both classes or group of persons were treated as same in past by State.

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