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Daily Rated Casual Labour v. Union Of India and Others., 1987 AIR 2342, 1988 SCR (1) 598

Authored by Pavitra Somani

Keywords: Casual labour, semi-skilled. Skilled, directive principles, permanent employees, temporary employees, equal pay, equal work, writ, mandamus.


‘Equal pay for equal work’ with respect to the temporary or casual workers and permanent employees in government sector, is a constitutional principle sustained and upheld by the Supreme Court of India. It has been upheld by the Supreme Court that the temporary workers have the right to entitle the wages at par with the remuneration given to the regular permanent employee performing same duties and functions. This principle is to be applied when same work is performed by both irrespective of the specification of employees.[1] This article deals with one of the case of Daily Rated Casual Labour v. Union of India and Others[2] held in the year 1987. It discusses the issue of classification of workers and differential payment among the casual labourers and permanent employees.


The concept of equal pay for equal work is a principle concept of the labour laws in India. It is a very important principle that deals with right of the labours and employees, working in the same organisation, having the same duties and functions except the class of the employee class they work in. This concept also is included and is related to the Fundamental Rights of Right to Equality given under the Part III of the Indian Constitution.

Name of the case:

Daily Rated Casual Labour v. Union of India and Others.



Daily Rated Casual Labour Employed under P&T Department THR



Union of India and Others.


1987 AIR 2342, 1988 SCR (1) 598

Date of Judgement:

27th October, 1987


Justice E.S. Venkataramiah, Justice S. Rangnathan.

Concerned Provisions of Law:

Article 14, 16, 37 and 38 of the Constitution of India, 1950.

Article 7 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966

Facts of the case

The petitioners, working as the Daily Rated Casual Labour in the Post and Telegraph Department were categorised as skilled, semi-skilled and unskilled. Through another order by the D.G, they were again categorised and classified on the basis of working days such as a group of person who completed more than 720 days of service, less than 720 days of service or more than 1200 days of service and on basis of this classification they were rated and given remuneration. The aggrieved filed a writ petition demanding the writ of mandamus to the Union of India complaining that the wages paid to them were very less and far low than the permanent salaried and regular employees belonging to equivalent categories and were not provided with other benefits such as increments etc. even after working more than 10 years in the department and also demand their absorption in permanent service.

Procedural History:

The Petitioners stated as Daily rated casual labour wrote a statement of their demands to the higher authorities claiming regularisation of payments and bonus and supply of dresses, leave and medical facilities etc. but due to unsatisfactory reply from the above authority they filed writ petition demanding the writ of mandamus to the Union of India.


1. Whether or not this classification under law is tenable?

2. Whether or not this classification and differential paying method among the workers violate any Fundamental Rights?

3. Whether or not the casual labour be considered a regularised labour after a considerable period of time?

4. Whether or not the Constitutional Directives provided by the state fulfilled?

Parties Argument:

The petitioners put forth that the classification based on the skills and the number of days service provided is not valid as they were paid differentially even after providing service equal to the regular and permanent salaried employees of the common cadres. If equal payment is not given for equal work Article 14 of the Constitution was negated. Also they argued for the same privileges of increments, leaves, bonuses etc. given to the regular employees of same service level.

The respondents put forward that they are casual labourers and therefore cannot be categorised into the benefits provided to the group of permanent regular employees.


It was held in this case that the classification made between the casual labour and regular employees for differential payment and for paying less than the minimum pay which is payable to the regular employees, therefore as the pay scales are extremely low in the lowest rung department, in this particular case it was held untenable. Also the bench held that the classification on the basis of the number of days of the service provided such as more than 720 days of providing service or less than 720 days or more or less service days than 1200 days was unreasonable and not clearly justified and thus was held untenable.

This classification was also held to be violative of both Article 14 and Article 16 of the Constitution as this denied there Right to Equality and the minimum pay which the regular cadres were given. According to Article 14 equal pay for equal work is to be given but in present case this right has been negated. This classification also violated the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966 by violating its Article 7.

Also taking the precedent of Dhirendra Chamoli and Anr. v. State of U.P.[3]. It was held that non regularisation of temporary employees or casual labour for a long period is not wise policy.

It was also held that the Constitutional Directives, though not legally enforceable in the Courts of law according to the Article 37 of the Constitution but it is the duty of the state to fulfil them, were failed to be fulfilled by the state. The Directive Principles of State Policy given in the Part IV of the Constitution consist Article 38 and 39(d) under which the petitioners applied themselves to be subject to the discrimination.

The court ordered the Union of India and other respondents to pay the petitioners as paid to the regular cadres, the pay to be equivalent to minimum pay to the regular employees of same cadres except the increments. The wages in the arrears to be paid within 4 months and the benefits to be extended to the casual workmen. Also the respondents were directed to make a system to absorb the casual workers who worked in the P&T Department for more than one year. The petitions were disposed off.

Personal Comments:

The judgement held in the case was correct according to me as considering the legislation and Constitution of India and also the International Covenants no one should be denied the right to payment and moreover equal payment for equal work is a right of every person which cannot be negated. India being a socialist republic country, the state have to perform certain obligations. It is the duty of the state to make the basic rights such as equal pay for equal work, work security etc. to be provided. As providing these securities will not only provide shield to the workers but also lead to maximization of their efforts and work which will result in positive results.




Foot Notes:

[1] State of Punjab and Ors. V. Jagjit Singh and Ors.,26th October, 2016. [2] Daily Rated Casual Labour v. Union Of India and Others., 1987 AIR 2342, 1988 SCR (1) 598 [3] Dhirendra Chamoli and Anr. v. State of U.P. , (1986) 1 SCC V 637.