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Cites 5 docs
Article 14 in The Constitution Of India 1949
Article 39(d) in The Constitution Of India 1949
Article 32 in The Constitution Of India 1949
Article 16 in The Constitution Of India 1949
Kishori Mohanlal Bakshi vs Union Of India & Ors on 11 April, 1961
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Om Prakash Verma vs Union Of India on 28 March, 2012
Ram Rattan vs Govt. Of Nct Of Delhi Through on 11 December, 2012

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Supreme Court of India
Randhir Singh vs Union Of India & Ors on 22 February, 1982
Equivalent citations: 1982 AIR 879, 1982 SCR (3) 298
Author: O C Reddy
Bench: Reddy, O. Chinnappa (J)
           PETITIONER:
RANDHIR SINGH

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
UNION OF INDIA & ORS.

DATE OF JUDGMENT22/02/1982

BENCH:
REDDY, O. CHINNAPPA (J)
BENCH:
REDDY, O. CHINNAPPA (J)
SEN, A.P. (J)
ISLAM, BAHARUL (J)

CITATION:
 1982 AIR  879		  1982 SCR  (3) 298
 1982 SCC  (1) 618	  1982 SCALE  (1)110
 CITATOR INFO :
 F	    1983 SC 130	 (32,60)
 F	    1984 SC 541	 (17)
 D	    1984 SC1901	 (12)
 F	    1985 SC1124	 (12,15)
 RF	    1986 SC 431	 (5)
 R	    1986 SC 584	 (1)
 R	    1987 SC 490	 (10)
 RF	    1987 SC2086	 (18)
 D	    1988 SC1291	 (8)
 R	    1988 SC1504	 (7)
 R	    1989 SC  19	 (13,21,23,28)
 RF	    1989 SC  30	 (3)
 F	    1989 SC1256	 (4)
 C	    1989 SC1308	 (8,10)
 F	    1990 SC 334	 (37)
 F	    1990 SC 883	 (4,6,7)
 RF	    1991 SC1173	 (6)
 F	    1992 SC 126	 (7)


ACT:
     Constitution of  India, Articles 14,19 and 39(d) "Equal
pay for	 equal work"  is not an abstract doctrine but one of
substance.



HEADNOTE:
     The petitioner  is a  driver  constable  in  the  Delhi
Police Force  under the	 Delhi Administration.	The scale of
pay in the Delhi Police Force is for non-matriculate drivers
Rs. 210-270  and for  matriculate drivers 225-308. The scale
of pay	of a  driver in	 the Railway Protection Force is Rs.
260-400. The  scale of	pay of driver in the non-secretariat
offices in  Delhi is  Rs. 260-6-326-EB-8-350,  while that of
Secretariat offices  in Delhi  is Rs.  260-6-290-EB-6-326-8-
366-EB-8-8-8-390-10 400.  The scale of pay of drivers in the
office of  the Language	 Commission is Rs. 260-300 while the
drivers of  heavy vehicles  in	the  Fire  Brigade  and	 the
Department of Light House is Rs. 330-480. The petitioner and
other  driver	constables  made  a  representation  to	 the
authorities that  their case  was omitted  to be  considered
separately by  the Third  Pay Commission  and that their pay
scales should  be the  same as the drivers of heavy vehicles
in other  departments. As  their claims for better scales of
pay did	 not meet  with success, the present application has
been filed  by the  petitioner for the issue of a writ under
Article 32 of the Constitution.
     Allowing the petition, the Court
^
     HELD: 1:1.	 The petitioner was appointed as a driver in
the Delhi  Police Force.  After his  discharge from the army
question of his employment as a driver in Delhi Police Force
was considered,	 he was	 asked	to  appear  for	 a  test  of
proficiency in	driving, directed  to produce  a Civil Heavy
Transport Driving  Licence, selected  thereafter as a driver
in Delhi  Police Force under the category "Employment of Ex-
serviceman in  Delhi Police  as N.T. Driver (Constable)." He
was designated as Constable, because for the purposes of the
discipline of  the Force  and appointment  as driver  in the
Delhi Police  Force he	had to be made a member of the Delhi
Police Force and had to be assigned a rank in the Force. The
investiture of	the petitioner	with the  "powers, functions
and privileges of a police Officer" was a consequence of his
becoming a member of the Force.
					      [302 H, 303 A-
C]
     1:2. The  petitioner and  other drivers  in  the  Delhi
Police Force  perform the same functions and duties as other
drivers in  the service	 of the Delhi Administration and the
Central	 Government.   If  anything,   by  reason  of  their
investiture with  the "power,  functions and privileges of a
police Officer",  their duties and responsibilities are more
arduous. The clarification that the drivers of the
299
Delhi Police Force and the other drivers belong to different
departments and	 that the  equal pay for equal work is not a
principle which	 the courts  may recognise  and act  upon is
irrational. [306 A, B, C, D]
     2:1. No  doubt, equation  of posts	 and equation of pay
are matters  primarily	for  the  Executive  Government	 and
expert bodies  and not	for the courts, but where all things
are equal that is, where all relevant considerations are the
same, persons  holding identical  posts may  not be  treated
differentially in  the matter  of their	 pay merely  because
they belong to different departments. Of course, if officers
of the	same  rank  perform  dissimilar	 functions  and	 the
powers, duties	and responsibilities  of the  posts held  by
them vary,  such officers  may not  be heard  to complain of
dissimilar pay merely because the posts are of the same rank
and the nomenclature is the same. [303 G-H, 304 A]
     3:1. The principle "equal pay for equal work" is not an
abstract doctrine  but one  of substance.  There can  be and
there are  different  grades  in  a  service,  with  varying
qualifications for entry into a particular grade, the higher
grade often  being a  promotional avenue for officers of the
lower grade.  The higher  qualifications or experience based
on length  of service, reasonably sustain the classification
of the	officers into  two grades  with different  scales of
pay. The  principle of	equal pay for equal work would be an
abstract doctrine  not attracting Article 14 if sought to be
applied to them. [304 C-E]
     3:2. It  is true  that the	 principle of "equal pay for
equal work" is not expressly declared by our Constitution to
be a fundamental right. But it certainly is a Constitutional
goal. Article  39 (d)  of the  Constitution proclaims "equal
pay for	 equal work  for both  men aud women" as a Directive
Principle of  State Policy.  "Equal pay	 for equal  work for
both men and women" means equal pay for equal work for every
one and	 as between  the sexes. Directive Principles have to
be  read   into	 the  fundamental  rights  as  a  matter  of
interpretation. Article	 14 of	the Constitution enjoins the
State not  to deny any person equality before the law or the
equal protection  of the  laws and  Article 16 declares that
there shall  be equality  of opportunity for all citizens in
matters relating  to employment or appointment to any office
under the  State. These equality clauses of the Constitution
must mean something to everyone. To the vast majority of the
people the  equality clauses  of the Constitution would mean
nothing if  they are  unconcerned with	the work they do and
the pay	 they get.  To them  the equality  clauses will have
some substance	if equal  work means  equal  pay.  Questions
concerning wages  and the like, mundane they may be, are yet
matters of  vital concern to them and it is there, if at all
that the  equality clauses  of	the  Constitution  have	 any
significance to	 them.	The  preamble  to  the	Constitution
declares the  solemn resolution	 of the	 people of  India to
constitute  India  into	 a  Sovereign  Socialist  Democratic
Republic. Again	 the word  'Socialist' must  mean something.
Even if it does not mean 'to each according to his need', it
must at least mean 'equal pay for equal work'. [304 E-H, 305
A-D]
     3:3. From	a construction	of Articles 14 and 16 in the
light of  the Preamble	and Article  39(d), it is clear that
the principle  "equal pay  for equal work" is deducible from
those Articles	and may	 be properly  applied  to  cases  of
unequal
300
scales of  pay based  on  no  classification  or  irrational
classification though  those drawing the different scales of
pay do identical work under the same employer.
					    [305 G-H, 306 A]
     Kishori Lal  Mohan Lal Bakshi v. Union of India, A.I.R.
1962 S.C. 1139, distinguished.



JUDGMENT:

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION: Writ Petition No. 4676 of 1978, (Under article 32 of the Constitution of India) M.S. Ganesh for the Petitioner.

N.C. Talukdar, R.N. Poddar and Miss A. Subhashini, for the Respondent.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by CHINNAPPA REDDY, J. 'Equal pay for equal work' is not a mere demagogic slogan. It is a constitutional goal capable of attainment through constitutional remedies by the enforcement of constitutional rights. So the petitioner claims; so the petitioner asserts. Article 39 (d) of the Constitution proclaims, as a Directive Principle, the Constitutional goal of 'equal pay for equal work for both men and women'. Articles 14 and 19 guarantee respectively the fundamental rights to equality before the law and equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment and Art. 32 provides the remedy for the enforcement of the fundamental rights. So the petitioner has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under Art. 32 and has asked us to direct the respondents to give him his due, the same as they have given others like him. True, he is the merest microbe in the mighty organism of the State, a little clog in a giant wheel. But, the glory of our Constitution is that it enables him to a directly approach the highest Court in the land for redress. It is a matter of no little pride and satisfaction to us that he has done so. Hitherto the equality clauses of the Constitution, as other articles of the Constitution guaranteeing fundamental and other rights, were most often invoked by the privileged classes for their protection and advancement and for a 'fair and satisfactory' distribution of the buttered leaves amongst themselves. Now, thanks to the rising social and political consciousness and the expectations roused as a consequence, and the forward- looking posture of this Court, the underprivileged also are clamouring for their rights and are seeking intervention of the Court with touching faith and confidence in the Court. The judges of the Court have a duty to redeem their constitutional oath and do justice no less to the pavement dweller than to the guest of the five star hotel.

301

The petitioner is a Driver-Constable in the Delhi Police Force under the Delhi Administration and he demands that his scale of pay should atleast be the same as the scale of pay of other drivers in the service of the Delhi Administration. The scale of pay of a Driver-Constable in the Delhi Police Force is Rs. 210-270 in the case of non- matriculates and Rs. 225-308 in the case of matriculates. The scale of pay of a Driver in the Railway Protection Force is Rs. 260-400. The scale of pay of drivers in the non- Secretariat offices in Delhi is Rs. 260-6-326.E-B-8-350. The scale of pay of drivers in the Secretariat offices in Delhi is Rs. 260-6-290-EB-6-326-8-366-EB-8-8-8-390-10-400. The scale of pay of drivers in the office of the Language Commission is Rs. 260-350. The pay scale of drivers of heavy vehicles in the Fire Brigade and the Department of Light House is Rs. 330-480. The case of the petitioner is that he discharges the same duties as the rest of the drivers in the other offices; in fact he claims that he discharges more onerous duties than the others. He complains that there is no reason whatsoever to discriminate against the petitioner and other driver Constables merely because he and his ilk happen to be described as constables as indeed they are bound to be so described, belonging as they do to the Police Force.

It appears that the Third Pay Commission considered the claims of all drivers as a common category under the head "the pay scales appropriate for drivers of motor vehicles operating on roads. After considering the qualifications etc. possessed by drivers the Commission proposed pay scales for various categories of drivers like drivers of light motor vehicles, drivers of heavy motor vehicles, drivers employed in organisations with large fleet of vehicles, drivers of staff cars etc. The pay scales were professed to be fixed with reference to the qualifications for driving, the nature and the arduousness of the duties and responsibilities, the non-availability of adequate promotional avenues and such other usual considerations. The Pay Commission, however, while considering the question of the scales of pay of drivers separated the case of constable-drivers on the ground that their case would be considered along with the cases of other police personnel. The grievance of the petitioner is that while considering the question of the scales of pay of the police personnel, the Pay Commission failed to consider the drivers as a separate category and ignored the special considerations which prevailed in the case of drivers in other departments and which should have, therefore, prevailed in the case of driver-constables also.

302

The drivers-constables were not only required to possess heavy transport driving licence, they were further required to undergo a test of proficiency in driving before they were appointed as driver constables in the police force. Their duties were no less arduous and their responsibilities no less heavy than the duties and responsibilities of drivers in other departments. Their hours of work were long and inconvenient and there was constant exposure to security risks. The petitioner and other driver-constables made a representation to the authorities that their case was omitted to be considered separately by the Pay Commission and that their scales of pay should be the same as the drivers of heavy vehicles in other departments. As their claims for better scales of pay did not meet with any success, the present application has been filed for the issue of a Writ under Art, 32 of the Constitution.

Among the submissions made on behalf of the respondents, it was suggested that the petitioner was no more and no less than a constable of the Delhi Police Force and that there was no such category of Drivers in the Delhi Police Force. The hollowness of this submission is exposed by a reference to the facts relating to the individual petitioner. The petitioner who was an ex-gunner (driver) in the artiliary corps of the Indian Army and who was experienced in the driving, operation and maintenance of jeeps, trucks and heavy armoured vehicles was allowed to retire from the Army on compassionate grounds. He held an Army driving licence as also a Civil Heavy Transport Driving Licence. After he was discharged from the Army his nominal roll was forwarded by the Director General Resettlement, Ministry of Defence to the Commandant, Delhi Armed Police, Delhi. The question of his employment as a driver in the Delhi Police Force was considered and he was informed that a test of proficiency in driving would be held. He was required to produce his Civil Heavy transport driving licence at the time of the test. It is of interest to note that the subject of the communication sent by the Delhi Police establishment to the petitioner was "Employment of ex-servicemen in Delhi Police as N.T. Driver (Const)". He appeared at the test. By a communication dated March 29, 1968, he was informed by the Commandant, Delhi Armed Police, Delhi that his name had been "approved for enlistment as driver in the Delhi Police". Thereafter a certificate in the prescribed form was issued to him vesting him with the powers, functions and privileges of a police Officer. It is clear and it cannot be seriously disputed that the petitioner was appointed as a driver in the Delhi 303 Police Force. He was designated as constable, because, for the purposes of the discipline of the Force and appointment as driver in the Delhi Police Force, he had to be made a member of the Delhi Police Force and had to be assigned a rank in the Force. The investiture of the petitioner with the "powers, functions and privileges of a police Officer" was a consequence of his becoming a member of the Force.

The main defence taken by the respondents is, in the words of the deponent of the counter-affidavit, as follows :

"It is submitted that there can be no comparison between the different departments of the Government of India for the purpose of fixation of pay scale. A pay scale has been fixed upon consideration of various factors. The pay scales of the drivers of the Delhi Police has been fixed after duly considering all the circumstances. The drivers in the other departments are not similarly situated as the petitioner and there is no question of any hostile discrimination. It is, however, denied that the drivers have been treated as a separate class. It is also denied that the designation of the petitioner is N. T. Driver (Constable)' The counter-affidavit does not explain how the case of the drivers in the police force is different from that of the drivers in other departments and what special factors weighed in fixing a lower scale of pay for them. Apparently in the view of the respondents, the circumstance that persons belong to different departments of the Government is itself a sufficient circumstance to justify different scales of pay irrespective of their identity of their powers duties and responsibilities. We cannot accept this view. If this view is to be stretched to its logical conclusion, the scales of pay of officers of the same rank in the Government of India may vary from department to department notwithstanding that their powers duties and responsibilities are identical. We concede that equation of posts and equation of pay are matters primarily for the Executive Government and expert bodies like the Pay Commission and not for Courts but we must hasten to say that where all things are equal that is, where all relevant considerations are the same, persons holding identical posts may not be treated differentially in the matter of their pay merely because they belong to different departments. Of course, if officers of the same rank perform dissimilar functions and the powers, 304 duties and responsibilities of the posts held by them vary, such officers may not be heard to complain of dissimilar pay merely because the posts are of the same rank and the nomenclature is the same.
Our attention was drawn to Binoy Kumar Mukerjee v.

Union of India, Makhan Singh v. Union of India & Ors. where reference was made to the observations of this Court in Kishori Mohanlal Bakshi v. Union of India describing the principle of equal pay for equal work as an abstract doctrine which had nothing to do with Art. 14. We shall presently point out how the principle, "equal pay for equal work" is not an abstract doctrine but one of substance. Kishori Mohanlal Bakshi v. Union of India is not itself of any real assistance to us since what was decided there was that there could be different scales of pay for different grades of a service. It is well known that there can be and there are different grades in a service, with varying qualifications for entry into a particular grade, the higher grade often being a promotional avenue for officers of the lower grade. The higher qualifications for the higher grade, which may be either academic qualifications or experience based on length of service, reasonably sustain the classification of the officers into two grades with different scales of pay. The principle of equal pay for equal work would be an abstract doctrine not attracting Art. 14 if sought to be applied to them.

It is true that the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' is not expressly declared by our Constitution to be a fundamental right. But it certainly is a Constitutional goal. Art. 39(d) of the Constitution proclaims 'equal pay for equal work for both men and women" as a Directive Principle of State Policy. 'Equal pay for equal work for both men and women' means equal pay for equal work for everyone and as between the sexes. Directive principles, as has been pointed out in some of the judgments of this Court have to be read into the fundamental rights as a matter of interpretation. Art. 14 of the Constitution enjoins the state not to deny any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws and Art. 16 declares that there shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under 305 the State. These equality clauses of the Constitution must mean some thing to everyone. To the vast majority of the people the equality clauses of the Constitution would mean nothing if they are unconcerned with the work they do and the pay they get. To them the equality clauses will have some substance if equal work means equal pay. Whether the special procedure prescribed by a statute for trying alleged robber-barons and smuggler kings or for dealing with tax evaders is discriminatory, whether a particular Governmental policy in the matter of grant of licences or permits confers unfettered discretion on the Executive, whether the takeover of the empires of industrial tycoons is arbitrary and unconstitutional and other questions of like nature, leave the millions of people of this country untouched. Questions concerning wages and the like, mundane they may be, are yet matters of vital concern to them and it is there, if at all that the equality clauses of the Constitution have any significance to them. The preamble to the Constitution declares the solemn resolution of the people of India to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Democratic Republic. Again the word 'Socialist' must mean something. Even if it does not mean 'To each according to his need', it must atleast mean 'equal pay for equal work'. The principle of 'equal pay for equal work' is expressly recognized by all socialist systems of law, e.g, Section 59 of the Hungarian Labour. Code, para 2 of Section 111 of the Czechoslovak Code, Section 67 of the Bulgarian Code, Section 40 of the Code of the German Democratic Republic, para 2 of Section 33 of the Rumanian Code. Indeed this principle has been incorporated in several western labour codes too. Under provisions in Section 31 (g. No. 2d) of Book I of the French Code du Travail, and according to Argentinian law, this principle must be applied to female workers in all collective bargaining agreements. In accordance with Section 3 of the Grundgesetz of the German Federal Republic, and clause 7, Section 123 of the Mexican Constitution, the principle is given universal significance (vide: International Labour Law by Istvan Szaszy p. 265). The preamble of the Constitution of the International Labour Organisation recognises the principle of 'equal remuneration for work of equal value' as constituting one of the means of achieving the improvement of conditions "involving such injustice, hardship and privation to large numbers of people as to produce unrest so great that the peace and harmony of the world are imperilled". Construing Articles 14 and 16 in the light of the Preamble and Art. 39(d) we are of the view that the principle 'Equal pay for Equal work' is deducible from those Article and may be properly applied to cases of unequal scales of pay based 306 on no classification or irrational classification though these drawing the different scales of pay do idential work under the same employer.

There cannot be the slightest doubt that the drivers in the Delhi Police Force perform the same functions and duties as other drivers in service of the Delhi Administration and the Central Government. If anything, by reason of their investiture with the 'powers, functions and privileges of a police officer', their duties and responsibilities are more arduous. In answer to the allegation in the petition that the driver-constables of the Delhi Police Force perform no less arduous duties than drivers in other departments, it was admitted by the respondents in their counter that the duties of the driver-constables of the Delhi Police Force were onerous. What then is the reason for giving them a lower scale of pay than others ? There is none. The only answer of the respondents is that the drivers of the Delhi Police Force and the other drivers belong to different departments and that the principle of equal pay for equal work is not a principle which the Courts may recognise and act upon. We have shown that the answer is unsound. The clarification is irrational. We, therefore, allow the Writ Petition and direct the respondents to fix the scale of pay of the petitioner and the drivers-constables of the Delhi Police Force atleast on a par with that of the drivers of the Railway Protection Force. The scale of pay shall be effective from 1st January, 1973, the date from which the recommendations of the Pay Commission were given effect.

S.R.					   Petition allowed.
307