India Law: Worldwide, there is growing concern over the increasing rate of jobless people from country to country. In that context, India is reportedly faring better with corporate recruitments picking up and hiring trends showing positive numbers. However, as Mahatma Gandhi once stated that the real India lives in the villages, the rosy numbers relating to employment opportunities don’t appear so rosy when one looks at the deplorable state of welfare schemes such as the much talked about MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act)
“Legislative Intent” as per Indian Law
We also have to keep in mind that in any statute, as per Indian law, an equitable construction of the statute is permissible. This means that the court can give effect to the legislative intent by a harmonious construction so that no provision is rendered surplus.
A case in example is that of Dhirendra Chamol vs. State of UP (I986 1 SCC 637). In this case, the Supreme Court held that casual workers engaged by the government on daily wages but they are performing the same duties as the regular employees were entitled to the same salary and conditions of services as the employees of the corresponding rank regularly appointed against such sanctioned post. The court observed that it was not open to the government to deny such benefits to casual workers on the ground that they had taken up work, knowing they would be paid only the daily wages and nothing more.
The court further observed that the principle of equal pay for equal work was implicit in Article 14 of the Constitution of India which as we all know is a fundamental right. It is not just in India alone that this principle applies.
All countries with a socialist system recognize this principle. Examples include:
• The Hungarian Labour Cod
• Czechoslovakia Code
• Bulgarian Code
• Rumanian Code
• The Code of German Democratic Republic
• The Mexican Constitution
Next, lets understand how the MGNREGA is relevant in the context of Indian law. To read more on NREGA, click here.
About the Author of this article:
[Sanand Ramakrishnan is a lawyer by profession and passion. He practises in the Supreme Court. He is an Advocate-on-Record and Partner at Axess Legal Corp(ALC), New Delhi. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org]
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