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Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr

Supreme Court judge Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, delivering the judgment on the behalf of the division bench, the other judge being Justice SA Bobde, on October 26, 2016, in State of Punjab and Others vs Jagjit Singh and Others, had upheld that the temporary workers must be paid at the same rate as the regular workers for performing the same duties.

Justice Singh said, “In our considered view, it is fallacious to determine artificial parameters to deny fruits of labour. An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another, who performs the same duties and responsibilities. Certainly not, in a welfare state.”

Reiterating the Supreme Court’s view in number of cases and the constitutional provision under which it has been done, he stated, “There is no room for any doubt that the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ has emerged from different provisions of the Constitution. The principle has been expounded through a large number of judgments rendered by this Court, and constitutes law declared by this Court.”   

He also cited Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights, 1966, which India ratified in 1979, and which prescribes fair wages and prohibits discrimination.

He said, “…we have no hesitation in holding, that all the concerned temporary employees, in the present bunch of cases, would be entitled to draw wages at the minimum of pay-scale (at the lowest grade, in the regular pay-scale), extended to regular employees, holding the same post.”

Lead picture: A worker at a car factory. Photo: UNI  

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