The Bombay High Court bench of Justices Sunil Shukre and Rohit Deo at the Nagpur bench has held that “equal pay for equal work” isn’t a fundamental right. This comes on a plea filed by full-time instructors seeking parity in payments as given to full-time teachers of a vocational course.
The bench was hearing petitions filed by hundreds of such instructors of the Minimum Competency Vocational Course (MCVC) at the junior colleges at Akola, Wardha and few other districts. The instructors, who hold a diploma in Industrial Electronics and Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering, claimed that their work is of the same nature as of the full time teachers of these courses, who have a degree in the relevant stream.
The instructors sought equal pay for equal work citing Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
The bench having considered the submissions, referred to various judgments of the Supreme Court in this line.
“The consistent judicial view is that the doctrine of ‘Equal Pay For Equal Work’ is not abstract and does not operate in a vacuum. The principle ‘Equal Pay For Equal Work’ is not a fundamental right but a constitutional goal and entitlement to parity in Pay Scale would depend on several factors such as educational qualifications, nature of the job, duties to be performed, responsibilities to be discharged and experience,” the judges ruled.
“The designation of posts cannot be the sole basis of comparison,” the judges added.
The bench further said that the burden to prove and establish entitlement to parity on the touchstone of Articles 14 of the Constitution of India is that all the employee claiming such parity and unless, a wholesale identity between the holders of the two posts is established, interference in the evaluation done by the executive would be inappropriate.
The judges accordingly dismissed the petition.
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