What is Equal pay for Equal work?
Equal pay for Equal work is an ideology of giving equal wages and facilities to a man and a woman for doing the same work with the same amount of responsibilities and duties.
This concept is commonly referred to highlight the difference in wages and salaries for the same amount of work done towards gender, caste, region, religion, etc. The discrimination in Pay or the gap in wages has become an issue due to the increase in the number of cases of discrimination in wages and salaries. Equal pay not only relates to basic pay but also applies to other benefits and allowances. Such issues have been dealt with by the Indian judiciary from time to time.
What Laws do we have on It?
The Indian Constitution in Part IV in Directive Principles of State Policy. This part provides the principle of ‘Equal Pay for Equal Work’ for both men and women under Article 39(d). And, ‘Right to Work’ under Article 41 Indian constitution. Though these Directive Principles are crucial for the governance of the country and a state is duty-bound to consider them while enacting laws. But at the same time, they are not enforceable in any court of law.
Therefore, in India, the constitution does not expressly provide this right as a fundamental right. But it the same has been implicit in various provisions of the Constitution of India. Such provisions are as follows:
The Constitution of India embarks that there is equality before the law and men &women have equal rights and opportunities in the political, economic, and social spheres.
In this, the Constitution of India provides that there shall be no discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth.
The Indian Constitution guarantees the right to equal opportunity in public employment. It prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, descent, place of birth, residence, or any of them, in respect of any employment or office under the State.
Under this, the Indian Constitution lays down Directives for State to follow in respect of equal pay for equal work for both men and women.
The Indian Constitution provides that the State is required to make provisions for ensuring just and humane conditions for a woman at the workplace and ensure proper provisions are being followed and
Article 51A (e)
The Constitution of India imposes a duty on all citizens to repudiate such practices which are derogatory to the dignity of a woman.
What does Indian Judiciary say on Equal Pay for Equal Work?
While interpreting the Articles 14, 15, and 16 which guarantee equality before the law, protection against discrimination, and equality of opportunity in matters of public employment, the Indian court of law through various cases has included the concept of equal pay for equal work as a part of Art 14, Art 15 and Art 16.
The Indian Judiciary for the first time in the year1962, in the matter of Kishori Mohanlal Bakshi vs. UOI, rejected the plea of equal pay for equal work on the ground of it being incapable of enforced in the court of law.
But, in Randhir Singh vs. UOI (1982), the Supreme Court held that the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ though not a fundamental right but, is certainly a constitutionally valid principle under Art 14, 39 clause(c) and Article 16 and hence capable of being enforced through constitutional remedies granted under Article 32 of the constitution.
The Apex Court in Punjab and Ors v Jagjit Singh and Ors. gave a significant verdict. The Supreme Court observed that the principle of ‘Equal pay for Equal Work’ is equally applicable to persons engaged as daily wagers, casual and contractual employees. The Court termed denial of this principle as ‘exploitative enslavement’, ‘oppressive, suppressive’, and ‘coercive’. And also held that the principle extends to cover the temporary employees as well.
Some Other Important Laws:
In order to secure Equal Pay for Equal amount of Work done, the following Acts have been passed by the Indian Parliament:-
- Workmen’s Compensation Act, 1923
- Minimum Wages Act, 1948
- Factories Act, 1948
- Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, 1970
- Equal Remuneration Act of 1976
- Code on Wages 2019
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