Equal Pay For Equal Work: Concept and Case Laws

By | October 21, 2020

I. Basic Introduction

Equal pay for equal work means that in an economy where we are heading towards more and more globalization and still there are discriminations in matters related to equal pay not only in India but also widely in other countries also there is discrimination of equal pay for equal work.

II. Indian Constitution Perspective

As per our Indian Constitution equal pay for equal work has not been expressly defined as a fundamental right or constitutional right but there is some protection under Article 14, 15 and 16, which is related to equality before law, discrimination and equal opportunity of employment.{1}

Article 39 DIRECTIVE PRINCIPLE OF STATE POLICY has been enumerated which says that there should be equal pay for equal work for both men and women. It has been done by framers of our Indian constitution.

III. International Labour Organisation

ILO has said that labours no matter it is male or female if equal work is done and it is of equal efficiency why there is to be discrimination among both instead both should be equally paid no gender gap is required, there is already a lot of poverty and unemployment already in our nation where people are not getting jobs and even not able to earn sufficient means for livelihood.

Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951

Clearly enunciates that in Article one there should be no discrimination of pay toward any male or female and should be paid equally without any discrimination.[1]

Universal Declaration On Human Rights

Article 1, 2 and 7 talks about no discrimination and Article 23 clearly speaks out that everyone without any discrimination has the right to equal pay for equal work.[2]

IV. Various Legislations for Equal Pay for Equal Work In India

1. Workmen Compensation Act, 1923

Its motive is to provide monetary assistance to the heirs of the injured worker there is seen exploitation in cases of women.

2. Minimum Wages Act,1948

Its main objective is to give labour or workers a minimum amount of wages to fulfil their means.

3. Factories Act, 1948

It is made to look for conditions of workers that are been working in a factory or industry.

4. Contract Labour Act, 1970

It provides for various benefits related to women and also fixed working hours for them.

5. Equal Remuneration Act, 1976

It aims at providing equal pay for equal work done by men and women also the problems that are faced by women in pregnancy has also been taken care of under this statue because men don’t face all these issues.

6. Code on Wages Act 2019

It relates to equal remuneration of wages and government made decision that there is no need to make a discrimination between men and women, it made provisions for other genders of society as well and that too without any discrimination.

V. All Case Laws Related to Equal Pay for Equal Work

1. Kishori Mohanlal Bakshi v. Union Of India[3] (1962)

In this case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has held that it was being incapable of being forced in the court of law. But after some time it has also received due consideration and recognition in 1987 through Mackinnon Mackenzie & Company Limited v. Audrey D Costa And Others.

2. Mackinnon Mackenzie & Company Limited v. Audrey D Costa And Others[4] (1987)

In this case, it is all about a lady stenographer who was discriminated on the basis of her sex being female on the basis of remuneration but it was being ruled out and held in favour of that women. When men and women both are doing same work that required the same efficiency why was there discrimination was held out by court and case was filed under the equal remuneration act and the court had held that it is outside the ambit of the act and cannot be discriminated on basis of financial matter.

3. Randhir Singh v. Union of India[5] (1983)

Under this case, it was seen by the court that our constitution framers have expressly not enumerated any equal pay of equal work provision but in this case, it has been held that although not expressed still there are provisions of equal pay for equal work under the Article 14, 15 and 16.

4. Delhi Veterinary Association v. Union of India[6] (1984)

Article 32 is considered as heart and soul of our Indin Constitution and petition has been filed before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India by a group of some veterinary doctors they had contended that their right of equality of pay under the DPSP Article 39  and Article 14 and 16 were been violated because their salary as Assistant Surgeons in the Office Of Development Commissioner of Delhi Administration was lower than the Doctors at similar posts, employed by the Union Territory of Chandigarh or by the Central Government in Indo Tibetan Border Police and in Border Security Force.

5. Surinder Singh v. Engineer In Chief[7] (1986)

In this case, the issue was that there were some workers that were being employed to CPWD – Central Public Works Department were being employed on daily basis and their wages were very less as compared to the permanent workers of CPWD the issue of comparison was that the work that they both permanent and temporary were doing was same then why was their discrimination only on basis of being a temporary daily wage worker was it his mistake that he is temporary worker court took cognizance of the same and applied its virtue to make both temporary and permanent workers equal.

6. State of Punjab And Ors v. Jagjit Singh[8] (2017)

This case was related to all kinds of daily wage workers, contractual employees or casual workers who were doing same work as of permanent workers they were in comparison paid very less wages so court took the decision to make them equal.

“Whether temporarily engaged employees (daily-wage employees, ad-hoc appointees, employees appointed on casual basis, contractual employees and the like), are entitled to minimum of the regular pay-scale, along with dearness allowance (as revised from time to time) on account of their performing the same duties, which are discharged by those engaged on regular basis, against sanctioned posts”.

7. Supreme Court Employee’s Welfare Association v. Union of India 1989[9]

The Supreme Court has enunciated that where unequal pay brought discrimination within the meaning of Article 14 in our Indian Constitution it will not be a violation of EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK if the classification is proper and reasonable the doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’ will not have any application even though the persons doing the same work are not getting the same pay.

8. Budhan Choudhary v. State of Bihar[10]

In this case, the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India has held that law is not saying that to treat everyone as equal. If there are some people who are postgraduate and some people who are graduate obviously there will be some difference in their salaries and work and one cannot approach court that equal pay for equal work has not been applied it basically says that there should be some basis rational thinking or intelligible differentia which can distinguish one person from other and so that no more conflicts occurs between the employers and employees and both can work hard and live peacefully.

9. Markendeya v.  State of Andhra Pradesh[11]

In this case, there was a disparity between the difference in pay scale between graduate supervisors having a degree in engineering and non-graduate supervisors having diploma and license. The court has held that the difference between the pay-scales of two is totally valid and protected under Article 14, 15 and 16 of our Indian Constitution.

VI. Conclusion

We live in a country that has suffered huge discrimination from starting of the era from Britishers, then males in pre-independence tried to discriminate women on basis of gender then in post-independence era too discrimination has increased a lot like the other genders of LGBT community still suffers a lot although hon’ble courts had held them to be equal still they have to face problems.

Still, we are protected because of the framers of our Indian Constitution who framed it in a way so that right would be protected and every person either male or female who is working with same qualities and efficiency would be paid equally irrespective of their gender, race, sex and caste.

It is also important on part of our government that it time to time amend laws that are now not in par with the current scenario and enacts more and more legislation to prevent discrimination.

And proper remedies should be given to people who are affected by this gender gap disease so that people would trust our government, proper redressal system needs to be there or they would feel helpless because poor people already don’t have a lot of money and power with them.

Also nowadays there are reports and signs very much that gender gap is now slowly decreasing and that taboo is broken so its all our combined efforts and one should be proud of it.


[1] Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951 (No. 100), Available Here

[2] Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Available Here

[3] Writ Petition (civil)  28 of 1959

[4] 1987 AIR 1281

[5] 1982 AIR 879

[6] 1984 AIR 1221

[7] AIR 1986 SC 584

[8]  CIVIL APPEAL NO. 213 OF 2013

[9] 1990 AIR 334

[10] 1955 AIR 191

[11] 1989 AIR 1308


  1. Source for Legislation: https://labour.gov.in/
  2. Labour Law; Notes, Cases & Study Material

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