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Employee Can't Claim Equal Pay Due To Mere Similarity Of Designation Or Similarity Of Quantum Of Work

Anila Sabu ,
  12 July 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
Hon’ble Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
Civil Appeal No. 3892 Of 2022

Case Title:
State Of Madhya Pradesh Through Principal Secretary And Ors Vs Seema Sharma

Date Of Order:
July 9, 2022

Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari

Petitioner: State Of Madhya Pradesh Through Principal Secretary And ORS.
Respondent: Seema Sharma


The supreme court ruled that an employee cannot assert a claim for pay parity with another based solely on similarity in the amount of work or in the designation.

The equal pay for equal work doctrine can only be used when all the employees' circumstances are identical.

Important Provisions

Service Law

1. Paragraph 18

The equal pay for equal effort doctrine could only be used when all the employees' circumstances were identical. In terms of pay scales, simple designation resemblance, similarity in scope, or quantity of work were not sufficient to establish equality. The Court was required to take into account all pertinent elements, including the method of hiring, requirements for the position, type of the work, value of the labour, duties involved, and several other aspects. Ramesh Chandra Bajpai v. State of Madhya Pradesh &OR’s. was subsequently reported in (2009) 13 SCC 635.

2. Paragraph 20

Pay scale parity - It is well established that there cannot be equality with a wrong or an illegal act. If a librarian received the UGC pay scale inadvertently, that does not give others the right to claim it if it is not available under the Rules.

3. Paragraph 23

In exceptional circumstances where there is discrimination between two groups of employees appointed by the same authority, in the same manner, where the eligibility requirements are the same and the duties are identical in every way, the Courts may intervene in the policy decision to fix pay scales.


  • The Respondent-Writ Petitioner was appointed with a one-year probationary period. After satisfactorily finishing her probation, the respondent was formally confirmed in service.
  • The Respondent-Writ Petitioner requested the UGC rate of pay as paid to those in the senior scale of Librarians in colleges under the Higher Education Department in accordance with the Madhya Pradesh Education Service, Recruitment Rules, 1990 after completing 8 years of service.
  • The higher UGC scale of pay requested by the Respondent-Writ Petitioners was not granted.
  • As a result, the Respondent-Writ Petitioner filed the aforementioned Writ Petition, which was granted and in which it was ordered that the Respondent-Writ Petitioner be paid according to the UGC scale of pay for college librarians employed by the Higher Education Department.
  • The Appellants' intra-court appeal had been rejected.
  • The Respondent-Writ Petitioner argued that the 1990 Rules applied to her service conditions in both the High Court and this Court.


  • Whether the judgement and order dated 10th August 2016 issued by the Division Bench of the High Court of Madhya Pradesh (Indore Bench), dismissing the Writ Appeal No. 301/2016 and upholding the order dated 9th Feburary 2016 issued by the Single Bench approving the Writ Petition No. 14027/2010 filed by the respondent and directing the Appellants to give the Respondent-Writ Petitioner the benefit of the University Grants Commission scale of pay from the date of her initial is accurate.


  • The Respondent-Writ Petitioner was employed under the Madhya Pradesh Public Health (Indian System of Medicine and Homeopathy), Class III, Clerical and Non-Clerical Services Recruitment Rules, 1987, not the 1990 Rules, the Appellants noted.

Arguments Advanced By The Respondent

  • It was adamantly argued on behalf of the Respondent-Writ Petitioner that the Madhya Pradesh Ayush Department (Clerical and Non-Clerical), Class-III, Service Recruitment Rules, 2013, which went into effect in 2013, could have no way of applying to the respondents, who became eligible for the Senior Scale under the 1990 Rules, and that the Respondent-Writ Petitioner had been granted scale of pay in error.
  • The respondents suggested that as the Ayush Department employees' special rules were only formulated in 2013, they could not be enforced retroactively. However, it was abundantly evident from the Rules' recital that they have been written to supersede the Rules from 1987.


  • It was noted that the courts can only intervene in matters of pay scale policy, which are matters of policy, when there is discrimination between two groups of employees appointed by the same authority, in the same manner, with the same eligibility requirements, and with the same tasks.
  • The sitting bench further stated that, as held by this Court in State of Madhya Pradesh vs. Narmada Bachao Andolan report and relied upon and reaffirmed in Sudhir Budakoti & Ors, the Court cannot interfere with the policy decision made by the Government simply because it feels that another decision would have been fairer; or wiser.
  • Additionally, it was claimed that there is no clause in the rules that apply to institutions under the Ayush Department that mandates that staff members there must be paid according to the UGC scale.
  • Referring to the fact, the Court also noted that the eligibility requirements for the 1987 Rules' appointment of Museum Assistant-cum-Librarian were different from the 1990 Rules' eligibility requirements.
  • Furthermore, it is widely accepted that there cannot be equality with a wrong or an illegal act. If the UGC pay scale is not relevant under the Rules, just because a librarian may have been mistakenly given the UG pay scale does not give others the right to claim it.


In conclusion, the appeal was accepted by the court.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court's contested decisions were overturned and it was promised that any pending applications would be disposed of.

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

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