Mackinnon Mackenzie v. Audrey D’Costa 1987 AIR 1281

Spread the love

You can grab notes for other topics from here.

 After the services of the respondent, who was working as a Confidential Lady Stenographer with the petitioner-company, were terminated on June 13, 1977, she instituted a petition before the Adjudicatory Authority appointed under the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 complaining that during the period of her employment, after the Act came into force, she was being paid remuneration at the rates less favorable than those paid to the Stenographers of the male sex in the petitioner’s establishment for performing the same or similar work and claimed that she was entitled to recover the difference between remuneration paid to her and the male Stenographers.
 The petitioner opposed the petition contending that the respondent and other lady Stenographers who had been doing the duty as Confidential Stenographers were not doing the same or similar work which the male Stenographers were discharging; and that since there was no discrimination in salary on account of sex, the Act had not been violated.
 The Authority found that the male Stenographers and the lady Stenographers were doing the same kind of work, but rejected the complaint holding that in view of a settlement arrived at between the employee’s Union and the management the respondent was not entitled to any relief. The Appellate Authority allowed the appeal of Respondent holding that there was clear discrimination and directed the petitioner to make the payment of the difference between the basic salary and dearness allowances paid to respondent and her male counterparts.
 The matter came before the SC in appeal and the court held that in order to grant relief under the Act and to decide whether the work is the same or broadly similar and whether any differences are of practical importance, the Authority should take an equally broad approach, for the very concept of similar work implies differences in details, but these should not defeat a claim for equality on trivial grounds.
 It should look at the duties actually and generally performed not those theoretically possible by men and women. Where, however, both men and women work at inconvenient times, there is no requirement that all those who work e.g. at night shall be paid the same basic rate as all those who work normal day shifts. Thus a woman who works days cannot claim equality with a man on higher basic rate for working nights if in fact there are women working nights on that rate too, and the applicant herself would be entitled to that rate if she changed shifts.
 It cannot be suggested that there can be no discrimination at all between men and women in the matter of remuneration on the basis of nature of work which women may not be able to undertake but in such cases there cannot be any discrimination on the ground of sex. Discrimination arises only where men and women doing the same or similar kind of work are paid differently.
 Wherever discrimination is alleged, there should be a proper job evaluation before any further enquiry is made. In the instant case, the Authority, the Appellate Authority have found that the Confidential Lady Stenographers were doing the same work or work of a similar nature, which the male Stenographers in the establishment of the petitioner were performing. The lady Stenographers were attached to the senior Executive working in the petitioner-company. In addition to the work of the Stenographers they were also attending to the persons who came to interview the senior Executives and to the work of filing, correspondence etc. There was practically no difference between the work which the Confidential Lady Stenographers were doing and the work of their male counter-parts.
 The terms of the settlement have to defer to the provisions of the Act which clearly provide that equal pay for equal work must be paid. The SC therefore affirmed the holdings and held that the difference should be paid.

You can grab notes for other topics from here.


Spread the love

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *