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Equality — Equal pay for equal work

June 19, 2021

Introduction:— The equal justice concept in the setting of deep concern for the weaker sections of the community. Equal justice is an aspect of social justice, the salvation of the very weak and downtrodden and the methodology for levelling them up to a real, not formal, equality, being the accent, State of Kerala v. N.M. Thomas(1976) 2 SCC 310: 1976 SCC (L&S) 227.

Article 14 of the Constitution of India — Equal protection of laws is a positive concept. It postulates an equal protection of all alike in the same situation and under like circumstances. No discrimination can be made either in the privileges conferred or in the liabilities imposed, State of U.P. v. Deoman Upadhyaya, AIR 1960 SC 1125: (1961) 1 SCR 14: 1960 Cri LJ 1504.

Equality before law:—

Equality before law is a dynamic concept having many facets. One facet — the most commonly acknowledged — is that there shall be no privileged person or class and that none shall be above law. A facet which is of immediate relevance herein is the obligation upon the State to bring about, through the machinery of law, a more equal society envisaged by the Preamble and Part IV of our Constitution, Sri Srinivasa Theatre v. Govt. of T.N.(1992) 2 SCC 643
Constitution, Article 14 — Art. 14 of the Constitution ensures equality before law and strikes at arbitrary and discriminatory State action. Where State Government exercises any power, statutory or otherwise, it must not discriminate unfairly between one person and another. Every State action must be guided by certain norms and standards which are in themselves not objectionable as being discriminatory in character — Naraindas Indurkhya v. State of M.P.(1974) 4 SCC 788

 Constitution of India, Article 14 — Equality before law is a negative concept and it declares that every one is equal before law, that no one can claim special privileges and that all classes are equally subjected to the ordinary law of the land, State of U.P. v. Deoman Upadhyaya, AIR 1960 SC 1125: (1961) 1 SCR 14: 1960 Cri LJ 1504. 

The term taken from the English common law, is a declaration of equality of all persons within the territory of India, implying thereby the absence of any special privilege in favour of any individual. It also means that amongst the equals the law should be equal and should be equally administered and that likes should be treated alike. Thus, what it forbids is discrimination between persons who are substantially in similar circumstances or conditions. It does not forbid different treatment of unequals, Amita v. Union of India(2005) 13 SCC 721.

Equal pay for equal work:—-

Article 39(d) of the Constitution of India  — Equal pay for equal work is not expressly declared by the Constitution as a fundamental right but in view of the Directive Principles of State Policy as contained in Article 39(d) of the Constitution “Equal pay for equal work” has assumed the status of fundamental right in service jurisprudence having regard to the constitutional mandate of equality in Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution. It ensures a welfare socialistic pattern of a State providing equal opportunity to all and equal pay for equal work for similarly placed employees of the State, Grih Kalyan Kendra Workers’ Union v. Union of India(1991) 1 SCC 619

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