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Temporary employee to be paid at par with regular worker: SC

Source | The Economic Times : By Amit Anand Choudhary

NEW DELHI: In a big relief to lakhs of temporary employee who have been hired by government departments and agencies across the country on contractual basis, the Supreme Court on Wednesday held that they are entitled to wages at par with permanent employees and principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ must be followed.

A bench of Justices JS Khehar and SA Bobde said the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ constitutes a clear and unambiguous right vested in every employee

whether engaged on regular or temporary basis.

“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. Certainly not, in a welfare state. Such an action besides being demeaning, strikes at the very foundation of human dignity,” the bench said.

The bench said the principle had been expounded through a large number of judgments rendered by the apex court and and constitutes law declared by the Supreme Court.

“Any one, who is compelled to work at a lesser wage, does not do so voluntarily. He does so, to provide food and shelter to his family, at the cost of his self respect and dignity, at the cost of his self worth, and at the cost of his integrity. For he knows, that his dependents would suffer immensely,if he does not accept the lesser wage,” Justice Khehar, who wrote the judgement, said.

“Any act, of paying less wages, as compared to others similarly situate, constitutes an act of exploitative enslavement, emerging out of a domineering position. Undoubtedly, the action is oppressive, suppressive and coercive, as it compels involuntary subjugation,” he said.
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