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"Equal Pay For Equal Work" Not A Fundamental Right Vested In Any Employee, Though A Constitutional Goal To Be Achieved By Govt: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
29 Jan 2022 2:12 PM GMT
Equal Pay For Equal Work Not A Fundamental Right Vested In Any Employee, Though A Constitutional Goal To Be Achieved By Govt: Supreme Court
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"Equal pay for equal work" is not a fundamental right vested in any employee, though it is a constitutional goal to be achieved by the Government, the Supreme Court remarked in a judgment delivered on Thursday (27 January 2022)The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi observed that the equation of post and determination of pay scales is the primary function of the...

"Equal pay for equal work" is not a fundamental right vested in any employee, though it is a constitutional goal to be achieved by the Government, the Supreme Court remarked in a judgment delivered on Thursday (27 January 2022)

The bench comprising Justices DY Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi observed that the equation of post and determination of pay scales is the primary function of the executive and not the judiciary. Therefore ordinarily courts will not enter upon the task of job evaluation which is generally left to the expert bodies like the Pay Commissions, the court added.

In this case, the writ petitioner before the High Court of Delhi had retired from the post of Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF). The Government of India had rejected his representation seeking revision of his pension from Rs.37,750/- (50% of HAG Scale 75000-80000) to Rs. 40,000/- (50% of apex scale 80000) as per the Indian Forests Service (Pay) Second Amendment Rules, 2008. Against this, he approached the Central Administrative Tribunal, which dismissed his Original Application. Later, the High Court, allowing his writ petition, held that he was eligible to get the benefit of Rs. 40,000/- as pension at par with the other officers, as per the Rules of 2008. 

In appeal filed by the State, the Apex Court bench noted that the High Court had thoroughly misdirected itself by applying the principle of "equal pay for equal work" placing reliance on the decision of this court in case of State of Punjab and Ors. Vs. Jagjit Singh and Ors. 2017 SCC 148 which had no application to the facts of the present case.

"It may be noted that this court has consistently held that the equation of post and determination of pay scales is the primary function of the executive and not the judiciary and therefore ordinarily courts will not enter upon the task of job evaluation which is generally left to the expert bodies like the Pay Commissions. This is because such job evaluation exercise may include various factors including the relevant data and scales for evaluating performances of different groups of employees, and such evaluation would be both difficult and time consuming, apart from carrying financial implications. Therefore, it has always been held to be more prudent to leave such task of equation of post and determination of pay scales to be best left to an expert body. Unless there is cogent material on record to come to a firm conclusion that a grave error had crept in while fixing the pay scale for a given post, and that the court's interference was absolutely necessary to undo the injustice, the courts would not interfere with such complex issues. A beneficial reference of the observations made in this regard in case of Secretary, Finance Department Vs. West Bengal Registration Service Associations and Ors. 1993 Supl. 1 SCC 153 be made. As held in State of Haryana and Anr. Vs. Haryana Civil Secretariat Personal Staff Association 2002 (06) SCC 72 "equal pay for equal work" is not a fundamental right vested in any employee, though it is a constitutional goal to be achieved by the Government."

Referring to relevant rules, the bench observed that the Tribunal had rightly rejected the claim made by the appellant. The Tribunal had not committed any jurisdictional error, nor any failure of justice had occasioned, and hence the interference of the High Court in order passed by the Tribunal was absolutely unwarranted, the court said while allowing the appeal.


Case name

State of Madhya Pradesh vs. RD Sharma

Citation

2022 LiveLaw (SC) 97

Case no./date

CA 474-475 OF 2022 | 27 Jan 2022

Coram

Justices DY Chandrachud and Bela M. Trivedi

Counsel

AAG Mr. Saurabh Mishra for appellant state, Adv Anish Kumar Gupta for respondent, ASG Mr. Vikramjit Banerjee for UoI

CaseLaw

"Equal Pay For Equal Work" Is Not A Fundamental Right Vested In Any Employee, Though It Is A Constitutional Goal To Be Achieved By The Government,

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