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The doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ cannot be applied in casual way

The doctrine of 'equal pay for equal work' cannot be applied in casual way. The Supreme Court in M.P. Rural Agriculture Extension Officers Association Vs. State of M.P. and Another, , has opined that two different pay scales can be provided in the same cadre based on educational qualification even if the nature of work is the same and the posts are interchangeable. If the aforementioned principles laid down by the Apex Court to guide the application of the doctrine of 'equal pay for equal work' in a concrete fact situation are kept in mind
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The Supreme Court in M.P. Rural Agriculture Extension Officers Association Vs. State of M.P. and Another, , has opined that two different pay scales can be provided in the same cadre based on educational qualification even if the nature of work is the same and the posts are interchangeable. If the aforementioned principles laid down by the Apex Court to guide the application of the doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ in a concrete fact situation are kept in mind

(2005) 2 KantLJ 168 : (2005) 1 KCCR 706

KARNATAKA HIGH COURT

DIVISION BENCH

( Before : S.R. Nayak, J; Ajit J. Gunjal, J )

DODDAIAH — Appellant

Vs.

UNION OF INDIA (UOI) AND ANOTHER — Respondent

Writ Petition No. 48285 of 2004

Decided on : 10-01-2005

Constitution of India, 1950 – Article 14, Article 16, Article 226, Article 227, Article 39 (d)

Cases Referred

Harbans Lal and Others Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Others, (1989) 3 CompLJ 149 : (1989) 59 FLR 375 : (1989) 3 JT 296 : (1989) 2 LLJ 466 : (1989) 2 SCALE 200 : (1989) 4 SCC 459 : (1989) 3 SCR 662 : (1990) 1 UJ 13
M.P. Rural Agriculture Extension Officers Association Vs. State of M.P. and Another, AIR 2004 SC 2020 : (2004) 101 FLR 691 : (2004) 4 JT 446 : (2004) 2 LLJ 1114 : (2004) 4 SCALE 260 : (2004) 4 SCC 646 : (2005) 1 SLJ 12 : (2004) 2 UJ 1283 : (2004) AIRSCW 2180 : (2004) 3 Supreme 110

ORDER

S.R. Nayak, J.—The writ petitioner, in O.A. No. 597 of 2003 filed by him before the Central Administrative Tribunal, Bangalore Bench, Bangalore (for short, ‘the Tribunal’), sought for the pay scale admissible to the post of Laboratory Assistant in the Geological Survey of India. The petitioner is working as Laboratory Assistant, Central Ground Water Board, categorised as ‘Other Scientific Staff. It was contended before the Tribunal that the nature of work, duties and responsibilities, qualification for recruitment for both the posts are similar and, therefore, by virtue of the doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ he is entitled to the pay scale admissible to the post of Laboratory Assistant in the Geological Survey of India. The Tribunal having taken note of the fact that a similar claim was already considered and rejected by the Principal Bench of the Tribunal in L.C. Thyagi v. Union of India, O.A. No. 1228 of 1999, dated 23-2-2001, a copy of which is produced at page 97 of the material papers and having opined that it had no good reason to differ with the view of the Principal Bench and also having placed reliance on the judgment of the Supreme Court in Harbans Lal and Others Vs. State of Himachal Pradesh and Others, and in Associate Banks Officers’ Association v. State Bank of lndia3, refused the relief by its judgment dated 27th July, 2004 impugned in this writ petition.

2. We have heard Sri T.R. Sridhar, learned Counsel for the petitioner and perused the impugned judgment of the Tribunal. In the first place, the question whether the duties and functions attached to the post of Laboratory Assistant in the Central Ground Water Board and to the post of Laboratory Assistant in the Geological Survey of India are similar or not, is undeniably an incidence of fact/a question of fact. The Principal Bench of the Tribunal at New Delhi in the case of L.C. Thyagi, having examined the facts of the case, that is to say, the duties and functions attached to the two posts, the mode of recruitment, the qualifications prescribed, etc., refused similar relief Nothing is pointed out to our satisfaction that the factual findings recorded by the Principal Bench of the Tribunal are perverse for want of legal evidence. Therefore, the order of the Principal Bench in the case of L. C. Thyagi, on which the Tribunal has placed reliance in passing the impugned order cannot be faulted. Be that as it may, by virtue of the judgments of the Supreme Court in Harbans Lal’s case and Associate Banks Officers’ Association’s case, in the matter of applying the doctrine of equal pay for equal work’, a comparison cannot be made with a counterpart in other establishments or even the same establishment in different geographical locations. In para 3 of the judgment in Associate Banks Officers’ Association’s case, it has been held by the Apex Court that when the principles flowing from Articles 14, 16 and 39(d) are sought to be extended to compare the pay scales in one organisation with the pay scales in another organisation although between employees doing the comparable work, stretching of the doctrine of equal pay for equal work’, if at all done, must be done with caution lest the doctrine snaps. It needs to be emphasised that the doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ is designed only to correct irrational and inexplicable pay differentiation which can be looked up as discrimination against an employee or a given set of employees. The doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ cannot be applied in casual way. The Supreme Court in M.P. Rural Agriculture Extension Officers Association Vs. State of M.P. and Another, , has opined that two different pay scales can be provided in the same cadre based on educational qualification even if the nature of work is the same and the posts are interchangeable. If the aforementioned principles laid down by the Apex Court to guide the application of the doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ in a concrete fact situation are kept in mind, we are satisfied that no exception can be taken to the order of the Tribunal impugned in this writ petition, because, the Tribunal has taken note of the facts of the case and applied the binding principles laid down by the Apex Court. We do not find any flaw, much less, substantive legal flaw or error apparent on the face of the record warranting interference of this Court under Articles 226 and 227 of the Constitution with the impugned order of the Tribunal. The writ petition is devoid of merit and it is accordingly dismissed with no order as to costs.


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