In what comes as a relief for lakhs of temporary employees who have been hired by government departments and agencies across the country on a contractual basis, the Supreme Court held on Wednesday that they were entitled to wages on a par with permanent staff under the `equal pay for equal work’ principle.
A bench of justices J S Khehar and S A Bobde said the principle of `equal pay for equal work’ constituted a clear and unambiguous right vested in every employee, whether engaged on regular or temporary basis.
“In our considered view, it is fallacious to determine ar tificial parameters to deny fruits of labour. An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another… Certainly not, in a welfare state. Such an action, besides being demeaning, strikes at the very foundation of human dignity ,“ it said.
The bench said the principle had been expounded through a large number of judgements rendered by the apex court and constitutes law declared by the Supreme Court.
“Any one, who is compelled to work at a lesser wage, does not do so voluntarily . He does so to provide food and shelter to his family , at the cost of his self respect and dignity , at the cost of his selfworth, and at the cost of his integrity . For he knows, that his dependents would suffer immensely if he does not accept the lesser wage,“ Justice Khehar, who wrote the judgement, said.
“Any act of paying less wages, as compared to others similarly situated, constitutes an act of exploitative enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position. Undoubtedly, the action is oppressive, suppressive and coercive as it compels involuntary subjugation,“ he said.
Bartaman Patrika epaper 27-10-2016: http://epaper.prabhatkhabar.com