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Allahabad HC Orders Minimum Pay At Par With Regular Employees For IV Class Contractual Employees Working Since 2005

Raashi Saxena ,
  28 November 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
Hon’ble High Court of Allahabad
Brief :

Citation :
2022 Live Law (AB) 504

Case title: 
Sukh Vir Singh AndOrs. Vs. State Of U.P. Thru Prin. Secy. Law And Legal Remembrancer And ors

Date of Order: 
11th November 2022 

Bench: 
Justice Alok Mathur 

Parties:

Petitioner- Sukh Vir Singh AndOrs.
Respondent- State Of U.P. Thru Prin. Secy. Law And Legal 

SUBJECT

The Uttar Pradesh government was recently ordered by the Allahabad High Court to pay four IVth class contractual workers who have been employed by the U.P. State Legal Services Authority since 2005 a minimum wage (on par with regular employees).

The Supreme Court's decision in the case of State of Punjab Vs. Jagjeet Singh [(2017) 1 SCC 148], where it was noted that employees who are continuously performing duties commensurate with regularly appointed persons are also entitled to be paid the same wages in accordance with the "equal pay for equal work" provisions, served as the foundation for this order.

BRIEF FACTS

  • The Court was essentially dealing with a writ petition filed by four contract workers who were employed by the High Court Legal Services Sub Committee, Lucknow, and who were hired in 2005 to fill the positions of Peon and Clerk. They were earning Rs. 5K per month until recently, when it was raised to Rs. 7.5K.
  • The petitioners had previously petitioned the High Court in 2015 asking for a directive to the Government to enhance their salary; however, the High Court dismissed the case in 2018 and instructed the respondents to decide the petitioner's representation.
  • The petitioners moved to the High Court with the instant plea seeking a grant of a minimum of the pay scale after the authorities rejected the aforementioned representation and even refused to evaluate their case for a grant of a minimum of the pay scale.

ISSUES RAISED

Whether fourth class contractual workers are entitled to the same minimum wage that are received by regular employees?

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE APPELLANT

  • It was stated that there was a pressing need in the U.P. state of Lucknow's High Court Legal Services Cell.
  • At its meeting on 7.8.1999, the State Legal Services Authority decided to recommend to the State Government the creation of two new clerk positions and two additional peon positions.
  • Additionally, knowledgeable counsel for the petitioners argued since the petitioners are paid less than the minimum wage set by the government in this regard, the respondents themselves are arbitrary. 
  • The petitioners had previously sought guidance from this Court by filing writ petition No. 6946 (S/S) of 2015, which was dismissed by this Court by order dated 21.2.2018 ordering the respondents to swiftly decide the petitioner's submission. 
  • The contested order was issued in accordance with the court's directives from 21.2.2018, rejecting the petitioner's allegation.

ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT

  • On the other hand, the Standing Counsel has argued that because there is no law or government decision establishing a minimum pay scale, the petitioner could not have benefited from it. 
  • He further asserts that the petitioner was appointed in violation of the regulations and that as a result, per government orders, such people are not eligible for the regular wage scale.

ANALYSIS BY THE COURT

  • The court was of the opinion that it should be noted that the State Legal Services Authority had repeatedly requested that the State Government create two posts for peons and two posts for clerks. 
  • After a lengthy period during which the posts were not created, the petitioners were appointed on a contract basis at a salary of Rs. 5000 per month by means of an order dated 14.9.2005.
  • The court ordered the state government to issue new orders within four weeks granting the petitioners at least the minimum pay scale, relying on the Supreme Court's ruling in the case of State of Punjab v. Jagjeet Singh and taking into account the petitioners' significantly longer work history and lower monthly pay.

CONCLUSION

  • Considering the circumstances, the writ petition was granted. 
  • The State Government's directive from 12.9.2018 was revoked.
  • The respondents were instructed to swiftly, or within four weeks from the day a certified copy of this order is laid before them, pass new orders providing the petitioners a minimum pay scale.

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

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