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Mukesh Patel School of Technology, Management and Engineering. (MSPTME)

By, Saurabh Mody Roll Number: D003 B.Tech, EXTC Division: D 2nd Year, Semester 3 Year: 2013 - 2014


1. Article 16 2. Explanation 3. Case Study 4. Personal opinion 5. Bibliography

Article 16: Safeguards for public employment

Article 16 of the constitution provides for equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the state. Article 16 reads as under: Clause (1): There shall be equality of opportunity for all citizens in matters relating to employment or appointment to any office under the State. Clause (2): No citizen shall on grounds only of religion, race, caste sex, descent, place of birth, residence or any of them, be ineligible for, or discriminated against in respect of any employment of office under the State. Clause (3): Nothing in this article shall prevent Parliament from making any law prescribing, in regard to a class or classes of employment or appointment to an office under the Government of or any local or other authority within, a State or Union Territory, any requirement as to residence within that State or Union Territory prior to such employment or appointment.

Clause (4)- Nothing in this Article shall prevent the State from making any provision for the reservation of appointments or posts in favor of any backward class of citizens which in the opinion of the State, is not adequately represented in the services under the state". Clause (4-A): Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from making provision for reservation in matters of promotion to any class or classes of posts in the services under the State in favor of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, which in the opinion of the State are not adequately represented in the service of the State. Clause (4-B): Nothing in this article shall prevent the State from considering any unfilled vacancies of a year which are reserved for being filled up in that year in accordance with any provision for reservation made under clause (4) or Clause (4- A) as a separate class of vacancies to be filled up in any succeeding year or years and such class of vacancies shall not be considered together with the vacancies of the year in which they are being filled up for determining the ceiling of fifty percent reservation on total number of vacancies of that year st (Constitution 81 Amendment Act, 2000).


In laymans terms, this means that the country as a whole or the states under it shall not discriminate amongst people in terms of government employment. The employment shall be based completely on calibre and academic achievements. The article also states that although equal opportunity must be given to all citizens in terms of government employment, the parliament can lay down certain basic requirements such as residence in the particular state as a method of promoting local employment. The government can also reserve certain seats or positions for people belonging to certain castes, which they feel, are not adequately represented. In its true sense article 16 of the Indian Constitution limits as well as allows reservation in terms of employment for government jobs.

Case Study

State Of Haryana And Andhra Pradesh vs Tilak Raj And Ors. 14 July, 2003 Equivalent citations: AIR 2003 SC 2658, 2003 (4) ALD 121 SC Bench: D Raju, A Pasayat

The Case:
The State of Haryana is in appeal against the judgment rendered by a Division Bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court; whereby the respondents herein were directed to be paid the minimum pay in the scale of pay applicable to the regular employees. The thirty-five respondents were appointed at different points of time as helpers on daily wages in the Haryana Roadways. They filed writ petition claiming that they were entitled to regularization in view of service rendered for long period and/or that they were to be paid the same salary as paid to regular employees since the nature of work done by them was similar. In other words for the second relief claimed principle of "equal pay for equal work" was pressed into service. They

asserted to be educationally qualified for the post. The appellants disputed the claim of the respondents that they were educationally qualified for appointment to the post of helper and also took the stand that the principle of "equal pay for equal work" was factually and legally not applicable to their case. The High Court allowed the writ petition, inter alia, with the following observations: "In this view of the matter, the petitioners would be entitled to the relief, but again not the regular pay scale which their regular counter parts are receiving. The petitioners would be entitled to minimum of the pay scale with dearness allowance alone."

The High Court was of the view the since the claims were not pressed till 2000 and the respondents filed the writ petition without serving any notice of demand upon the employer, they would be entitled to get the relief only w.e.f. 1.4.2000 i.e. two months later to the institution of the writ petition. The court observed that: The principle of "equal pay for equal work" is not always easy to apply. There are inherent difficulties in comparing and evaluating the work done by different persons in different

organizations, or even in the same organization. In Federation of All India Customs and Central Excise Stenographers (Recognised) and Ors. v. Union of India and Ors. , this Court explained the principle of "equal pay for equal work" by holding that differentiation in pay scales among government servants holding the same posts and performing similar work on the basis of difference in the degree of responsibility, reliability and confidentiality would be a valid differentiation. The same amount of physical work may entail different quality of work, some more sensitive, some requiring more tact, some less - it varies from nature and culture of employment. It was further observed that judgment of administrative authorities

concerning the responsibilities which attach to the posts and the degree of reliability expected of an incumbent would be a value judgment of the authorities concerned which, if arrived at bona fide, reasonably and rationally, was not open to interference by the Court.

The Verdict:
The court observed that: The High Court was, therefore, not right in directing that the respondents should be paid the same salary and allowances as are being paid to regular employees holding similar posts with effect from the dates when the respondents were employed. If a minimum wage is prescribed for such workers, the respondents would be entitled to it if it is more than what they are being paid." "Equal pay for equal work" is a concept which requires for its applicability complete and wholesale identity between a group of employees claiming identical pay scales and the other group of employees who have already earned such pay scales. The problem about equal pay cannot always be translated into a mathematical formula. Judged in the background of aforesaid legal principles, the impugned judgment of the High court is clearly indefensible. However, the appellant-State has to ensure that minimum wages are prescribed for such workers and the same is paid to them. The appeal is allowed to the extent indicated above. There will be no order as to costs.

Personal opinion:
The complainants in this case had wrongly inferred the actual meaning of article 16 of the Indian Constitution. They failed to correctly understand the comparisons that have been mentioned in the article with regard to the concept of equal pay for equal work for employees of the state. Since they lacked the basic training and qualifications required for a government job of the same calibre, there was no ground for invoking the principle of equal pay for equal work. Also, as the court rightly observed, there should be a minimum basic wage for daily wage employees so as to safeguard them against exploitation. The final decision of the court was correct and rightly embodied the basic principles of the article as mentioned in the constitution.