The Gujarat High Court orally observed that the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ would apply to all the concerned temporary employees. “In our considered view, it is fallacious to determine artificial parameters to deny fruits of labour. An employee engaged for the same work, cannot be paid less than another, who performs the same duties and responsibilities”, the Single Bench of Justice Nikhil S. Kariel said.
The Petitioner Amulaben Narendrabhai Nimavat was appointed as ‘Kitchen Worker’ by the Gujarat Ayurvedic University, Jamnagar on 7.9.1994 and her service came to be terminated on 30.11.2002. The termination was without following the due procedure and raised a dispute in the Labour Court, Jamnagar under the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947. The Labour Court, after hearing the parties and considering the documents on record had passed an award that the petitioner should be reinstated on her original post with continuity of service sans backwages.
Then the Respondent University filed a writ petition before the High Court in 2013 and a Single Bench dismissed the said petition, upholding the Award passed by the Labour Court. The University was not satisfied again with the order of the Single Bench that had preferred Letters Patent Appeal in 2013, wherein the Division Bench vide order dated had dismissed the said Letters Patent Appeal in 2014.
The Petitioner was reinstated on her original post of ‘Kitchen Worker’ with continuity in service without granting regularization of service and all other consequential benefits as per the Labour Court Award. Now the present case of the Petitioner is that even after the continuous efforts, she has not been regularized.
The Petitioner Advocate relied upon the decisions in the cases of State of Karnataka Vs. Uma Devi reported in (2006) 4 SCC 1, Mahuva Municipality Vs. Mahesbhai Jinabhai Sarvayya and State of Punjab Vs. Jagjit Singh, wherein the judiciary has considered pay parity as an integral part of Article 14 of the Constitution of India and, therefore, similarly situated employees being treated differently would amount to a violation of Article 14 and Article 39(d).
The Respondent advocate appearing at the University opposed the petition stating that the petition is not at all maintainable as no fundamental or constitutional rights of the petitioner are violated and further submitted that the petitioner was initially appointed purely temporarily for 20 days without following any due procedure as there was an urgent requirement.
The AGP appearing for the Respondent-State further submitted that she does not have any right to demand regularization and pay parity as has been done in the cases of other employees, who have been selected through the Staff Selection process as per Recruitment Rules.
The Court after hearing both sides, observed, “it appears that the petitioner is working on the said post since the year 2013. It also appears that the petitioner had not been paid any backwages as per the Award passed by the learned Labour Court, which had not been challenged by the petitioner. Having regard to the same, in the considered opinion of this Court, the ends of justice would be met if the respondent University is directed to pay the petitioner salary in the C/SCA/8816/2020 JUDGMENT DATED: 05/07/2022 minimum of pay scale as paid to regularly appointed employees in the post of “Kitchen Worker/Kitchen Aya”.
The Court ordered the following directions in favour of the Petitioner:
- She will be entitled to the difference between the salary actually paid and the salary payable as per the minimum pay scale.
- She will also be entitled to a salary in the minimum pay scale till the petitioner retires.
- She shall also be entitled to other emoluments like D.A., etc., as paid to a regular employee.
- It is also clarified at this stage that to calculate the arrears, the period between 24.2.2003 and 13.12.2013 shall be treated as a period in service. The respondents are directed to calculate the difference and make appropriate payment of the same to the petitioner within six weeks from the date of receipt of this order.
Case Title: AMULABEN NARENDRABHAI NIMAT Versus STATE OF GUJARAT
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