Art 14 of the Indian Constitution explains the concept of Equality before law. The concept of equality does not mean absolute equality among human beings which is physically not possible to achieve. It is a concept implying absence of any special privilege by reason of birth, creed or the like in favour of any individual, and also the equal subject of all individuals and classes to the ordinary law of the land. As Dr. Jennings puts it: "Equality before the law means that among equals the law should be equal and should be equally administered, that like should be treated alike. The right to sue and be sued, to prosecute and be prosecuted for the same kind of action should be same for all citizens of full age and understanding without distinctions of race, religion, wealth, social status or political influence” It only means that all persons similarly circumstance shall be treated alike both in the privileges conferred and liabilities imposed by the laws. Equal law should be applied to all in the same situation, and there should be no discrimination between one person and another. As regards the subject-matter of the legislation their position is the same.
Thus, the rule is that the like should be treated alike and not that unlike should be treated alike. In Randhir Singh v. Union of India(AIR 1982 SC 879), the Supreme Court has held that although the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' is not expressly declared by our Constitution to be a fundamental right, but it is certainly a constitutional goal under Articles 14, 16 and 39 (c) of the Constitution. This right can, therefore, be enforced in cases of unequal scales of pay based on irrational classification. This decision has been followed in a number of cases by the Supreme Court.
In Dhirendra Chamoli v. State of U.P (AIR 1986 SC 172) it has been held that the principle of equal pay for equal work is also applicable to casual workers employed on daily wage basis. Accordingly, it was held that persons employed in Nehru Yuwak Kendra in the country as casual workers on daily wage basis were doing the same work as done by Class IV employees appointed on regular basis and, therefore, entitled to the same salary and conditions of service. It makes no difference whether they are appointed in sanctioned posts or not. It is not open to the Government to deny such benefit to them on the ground that they accepted the employment with full knowledge that they would be paid daily wages. Such denial would amount to violation of Article 14. A welfare State committed to a socialist pattern of society cannot be permitted to take such an argument.
In Daily Rated Casual Labour v. Union of India((1988) 1 SCC 122) it has been held that the daily rated casual labourers in P & T Department who were doing similar work as done by the regular workers of the department were entitled to minimum pay in the pay scale of the regular workers plus D.A. but without increments. Classification of employees into regular employees and casual employees for the purpose of payment of less than minimum pay is violative of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. It is also opposed to the spirit of Article 7 of the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1966. Although the directive principle contained in Articles 38 and 39 (d) is not enforceable by virtue of Article 37, but they may be relied upon by the petitioners to show that in the instant case they have been subjected to hostile discrimination:
Denial of minimum pay amounts to exploitation of labour. The government can not take advantage of its dominant position. The government should be a model employer. In F.A.I.C. and C.E.S. v. Union of India the Supreme Court has held that different pay scales can be fixed for government servants holding same post and performing similar work on the basis of difference in degree of responsibility, reliability and confidentiality, and as such it will not be violative of...
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