'Equal pay for equal work' inapplicable for daily wagers: SC

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (UNI) The Supreme Court has held that the principle of 'equal pay for equal work' is not applicable in case of daily wagers and regular employees even if they are doing the same work.

The ruling has been handed down by a bench comprising Justices A K Mathur and Markandey Katju, who allowed the appeal of the Punjab government against the order of Punjab and Haryana High Court, which has held that daily wage tractor drivers are also entitled to the pay of regular drivers.

The apex court in its judgement said ''The principle of equal pay for equal work has undergone a sea change. Earlier the view of this court was that if two persons are doing same work, they will be entitled to same wages. Subsequently, this view has been changed and now the view of this court is that there should be complete and total identity between the two persons similarly situated so as to grant equal pay for equal work.'' Recently this court has held that identity between two persons has to be complete and total. In case of regular appointee, he has undergone a selection process and his services are regular. Even if a daily wage employee is discharging the same work as a regular employee the authorities are not bound to grant equal pay to a daily wager, i.e appointed for a short term and has not faced the selection process.

The apex court concluded by saying '' There is separation of power under the constitution between the three organs of the state and the judiciary should not encroach into the domain of the other organs.

In view of the legal position, as mentioned above we are of the opinion that the view taken by the High Court, granting pay scale of regular employees to the daily wagers does not appear to be well founded. Consequently we allow these appeals and set aside the order of the High Court as also of the trial court and dismiss the suits filed by the respondents herein(Surinder Singh and another).'' UNI

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