Bombay High Court: The Division Bench of Sunil B. Shukre and Rohit B. Deo, JJ., expressed its view that,
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.
Whether the Minimum Competency Vocational Course (MCVC) Instructors are justified in claiming Pay Scale at par with the Full-Time Teachers in MCVC on the principle of “Equal Pay For Equal Work” which was enshrined in Articles 14 and 39(d) of the Constitution of India.
Bench referred to the Supreme Court decision in SAIL v. Dibyendu Bhattacharya, (2011) 11 SCC 122, wherein it was held that the burden to prove and establish discrimination was on the employee seeking parity of pay and that the equality clause can be invoked in the matter of Pay Scales when there is “wholesome/wholesale identity between the holders of two posts.”
In State of Haryana v. Jasmer Singh, (1996) 11 SCC 77, it was observed that even if the designation of the job is same, there may be differences in educational or technical qualifications which may have a bearing on the skills which the holders bring to their job and that the evaluation of such jobs for the purposes of Pay Scale must be left to expert bodies and in absence malafides, the evaluation should be accepted.
In Delhi Transport Corporation Security Staff Union (Regd.) v. Delhi Transport Corporation, (2018)16 SCC 619, Supreme Court emphasized that grant of Pay Scale is a highly technical and complex matter, which requires consideration of a host of factors, such as the qualifications, the method of recruitment and the nature of duties and therefore, the Court are loathe to interfere in matters with regard to grant of Pay Scale.
High Court expressed that the consistent judicial view has been that the doctrine of “Equal Pay For Equal Work” is not abstract and does not operate in a vacuum.
Entitlement to Parity
Considering that evaluation of posts is a complex exercise which must consider several factors, unless the decision of the executive is demonstrably malafide or irrational, the Courts must observe restrain and avoid treading on unsure grounds.
The burden to prove and establish entitlement to parity on the touchstone of Articles 14 and 39(d) of the Constitution of India is that all the employees 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.
High Court while concluding the matter, held that in the light of the oral and documentary material on record, the only and irresistible conclusion which could have been arrived at, is that the nature of duties performed and the responsibilities discharged by Full Time Instructors are not comparable with those performed and discharged by Full Time Teachers.
“…the decision of the State Government not to grant to Full Time Instructors parity in Pay Scale with the Full Time Teachers does not suffer from the vice of arbitrariness or irrationality, and we would be loathe to interfere with a legitimate exercise of executive power, in exercise of writ jurisdiction.”
In view of the above discussion, petitions were dismissed. [Gajanan v. State of Maharashtra, WP No. 366 of 2002, decided on 2-08-2021]
Advocates before the Court:
Mr. R.L. Khapre, senior counsel with Mr. F.T. Mirza,
Mr. R.G. Kavimandan, Mr.T.S. Deshpande and
Mr. R.M. Ahirrao, for petitioners.
Mr. N.S. Rao, AGP for respondents in WP 366/2002 & 3229/2011 & for respondents 2 to 4 in WP 496/2012.
Mr. Anand Parchure, counsel for respondent 5 in WP 496/2012. Mr. S.B. Ahirkar, counsel for respondent 6 in WP 496/2012.