The Supreme Court, in State of Punjab vs. Jagjit Singh has held that temporary employees would be entitled to draw wages at the minimum of the pay-scale (- at the lowest grade, in the regular pay-scale), extended to regular employees, holding the same post.
Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice S.A. Bobde held that the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ would be applicable to all the concerned temporary employees, so as to vest in them the right to claim wages, at par with the minimum of the pay-scale of regularly engaged Government employees, holding the same post. The Bench was hearing an appeal against the High Court order which had held that temporary employees are not entitled to the minimum of the pay-scale, as was being paid to similarly placed regular employees.
India is a signatory to the above covenant, having ratified the same on 10.4.1979. There is no escape from the above obligation, in view of different provisions of the Constitution referred to above, and in view of the law declared by this Court under Article 141 of the Constitution of India, the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ constitutes a clear and unambiguous right and is vested in every employee – whether engaged on regular or temporary basis. , the Bench observed. Referring to various case laws on the subject, the Court has summarized the principles as follows