RANDHIR SINGH Vs. UNION OF INDIA
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
UNION OF INDIA
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Chinnappa Reddy, J. -
(1.) 'Equal pay for equal work' is not a mere demagogic slogan. It is a constitutional goal capable of attainment through constitutional remedies, by the enforcement of constitutional rights. So the petitioner claims; so the petitioner asserts. Article 39 (d) of the Constitution proclaims, as a Directive Principle, the Constitutional goal of 'equal pay for equal work for both men and women'. Articles 14 and 19 guarantee respectively the fundamental rights to equality before the law and equality of opportunity in the matter of public employment and Art. 32 provides the remedy for the enforcement of, the fundamental rights. So the petitioner has invoked the jurisdiction of this Court under Art. 32 and has asked us to direct the respondents to give him his due, the same as they have given others like him. True, he is the merest microbe in the mightly organism of the State, a little clog in a giant wheel. But, the glory of our Constitution is that it enables him to directly approach the highest Court in the land for redress. It is a matter of no little pride and satisfaction to us that he has done so. Hitherto the equality clauses of the Constitution, as other articles of the Constitution guaranteeing fundamental and other rights, were most often invoked by the privileged classes for their protection and advancement and for a 'fair and satisfactory' distribution of the buttered loaves amongst themselves. Now, thanks to the rising social and political consciousness and the expectations roused as a consequence, and the forward looking posture of this Court, the underprivileged also are clamouring for their rights and are seeking the intervention of the Court with touching faith and confidence in the Court. The Judges of the Court have a duty to redeem their constitutional oath and do justice no less to the pavement dweller than to the guest of the five star hotel.
(2.) The petitioner is a Driver-Constable in the Delhi Police Force under the Delhi Administration and he demands that his scale of pay should at least be the same as the scale of pay of other drivers in the service of the Delhi Administration. The scale of pay of a Driver-Constable in the Delhi Police Force is Rs. 210-270 in the case of non-matriculates and Rs. '225-308 in the case of matriculates. The scale of pay of a Driver in the Railway Protection Force is Rupees 260-400. The scale of pay of drivers in the non-Secretariat offices in Delhi is Rs. 260-6-326-EB-8-350. The scale of pay of drivers in the Secretariat offices in Delhi is Rs. 260-6-290-EB-6-326.8-366-EB-8-8-8-390-10-400. The scale of pay of drivers in the office of the Language Commission is Rs. 260-350. The pay scale of drivers of heavy vehicles in the Fire Brigade and the Department of Light House is Rs. 330-480. The case of the petitioner is that he discharges the same duties as the rest of the drivers in the other offices; in fact he claims that he discharges more onerous duties than the others. He complains that there is no reason whatsoever to discriminate against the petitioner and other driver-Constables merely because he and his ilk happen to be described as constables as indeed they are bound to be so described, belonging as they do to the Police Force.
(3.) It appears that the Third Pay Commission considered the claims of all drivers as a common category under the head "the pay scales appropriate for drivers of motor vehicles operating on roads.. ... ..." After considering the qualifications etc. possessed by drivers the Commission proposed pay scales for various categories of drivers like drivers of light motor vehicles, drivers of heavy motor vehicles, drivers employed in organisations with large fleet of vehicles, drivers of staff cars etc. The pay scales were professed to be fixed with reference to the qualifications for driving, the nature and the arduousness of the duties and responsibilities, the non-availability of adequate, promotional avenues and such other usual considerations. The Pay Commission, however, while considering the question of scales of pay of drivers separated the case of constable-drivers on the ground that their case would be considered along with the cases of other police personnel. The grievance of the petitioner is that while considering the question of the scales of pay of the police personnel, the Pay Commission failed to consider the drivers as a separate category and ignored the special considerations which prevailed in the case of drivers in other departments and which should have, therefore, prevailed in the case of driver-consiables also. The driver-constables were not only required to possess heavy transport driving licence, they were further required to undergo a test of proficiency in driving before they were appointed as driver-constables in the police force. Their duties were no less arduous and their responsibilities no less heavy than the duties and responsibilities of drivers in other departments. Their hours of work were long and inconvenient and there was constant exposure to security risks. The petitioner and other driver-constables made a representation to the authorities that their case was omitted to be considered separately by the Pay Commission and that their scales of pay should be the same as the drivers of heavy vehicles, in other departments. As their claims for better scales of pay did pot meet with any success, the present application has been filed for the issue of a writ under Art. 32 of the Constitution.;
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