Constitutional And Legal Dimensions On The Doctrine Of Equal Pay For Equal Work: An Indian Perspective

About the Author

Mr. Ratemo Tom Junior
B.Com., LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D., Research Scholar,
Department of Post Graduate Studies in Law,
Dr. Babasaheb Ambedkar Marathwada University, Aurangabad, Maharashtra, 

The Constitutions of India, 1950 [hereinafter referred to as COI] in its Preamble indisputably require the State to secure to all its citizens, “social justice, economic and political; equality of status and opportunity, and the rule of the law.” In addition, the Bill of Rights under Part III of the Constitution enshrines the equality clause of wide import. Moreover, the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976, stresses on payment of equal remuneration to men and women employees for the same work or work of similar nature. But the question is whether there is still pay disparity between men and women in India in this twenty first century? This paper evaluates the constitutional and legal provisions against inequality including judicial pronouncements by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India [hereinafter referred to as SCI] on the doctrine of ‘equal pay for equal work’.

  • Introduction:

The doctrine of equal pay for equal work is a concept that has gradually evolved and has come to be recognized by a number of countries world-wide due to an increase in the instances of discriminatory pay scales for the same type of work1. Article.23 (2) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 debars all types of distinctions and classifications and clearly asserts that ‘everyone without any discrimination has the right to equal pay for equal work’. Similarly, Art.7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Art.15 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the International Labour Organisation Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Art.11 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, S.59 of the Hungarian Labour Code, Clause 2 of S.111 of Czechoslovak Code, S.67 of the Bulgarian Code, S.40 of the Code of German Democratic Republic, Para 2 of S.33 of the Rumanian Code, Art.2 of the Convention Concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value, etc., are other best international instruments that uphold the doctrine of equal pay for equal work. However, even after six decades of independence and with the existence of the international instruments that promote the principle of equal pay for equal work, and more importantly with the world’s biggest Constitution, India still lacks a comprehensive and transparent wage policy for men and women in all the sectors of the economy2.

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July 19, 2016

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