The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court emphasized that for asserting 'equality' in claims of ‘Equal pay for equal work', factors like responsibilities, reliability, experience, etc have to be proved.

The bench of Justice Javed Iqbal Wani observed, “Article 16(1) read with Article 14 and 39(d) of the Constitution of India guarantees “equal pay for equal work‟ so that the court would strike down in equal scales of pay for identical work which is based on no classification or irrational classification. However, the person, who asserts that there is equality in work has to prove it, however, the equality is not to be based in designation or nature of work, but on several other factors like, responsibilities, reliabilities, experience, confidentially involved, functional need and requirements commensurate with the position in hierarchy, the qualification required.”

In the present case, Petitioners, employees in the State Pollution Control Board according to an advertisement by the State Selection Board, Jammu (SSB) applied for the job. It included posts of Data Operators carrying the grade of 950-1500 (pre-revised) besides other posts in various government departments including with the respondent 2 – State Pollution Control Board.
Advocate Shivani Jalali appeared for the appellant and AAG Amit Gupta appeared for the respondents.
The Petitioners stated that they were appointed against the posts in a lower grade of 950-1500 and alleged to have no option claim to join against the posts carrying the said pay scale.
The Petitioner stated that the posts of Data Entry Operators in the Agriculture Department also the same posts in the High Court of J&K carry a higher grade. It is further stated that even the pay-scale of Computer Operator in the Forest Department as well carry the pay-scale of 1400-2300.

The Petitioner submitted that upon coming to know about the disparity in the pay- scales in the posts in question they made a representation to the Chairman, State Pollution Control Board for removal of the pay anomaly and the discrimination.
However, since they got no response from him they approached the High Court with this Writ Petition seeking the issuance of writ of mandamus to respondents to place them in higher grade and direct the respondents to declare the petitioners as separate cadre of service by framing proper recruitment rules.
On behalf of the respondent it was argued that the post of Data Operator in the Board carrying a pay scale of 950-1500 is distinct and different in nature, nomenclature, and workload from the post referred by the petitioners in other departments and, as such, the petitioners have no claim which can be entertained.

As per the Court, the core issue is traceable to the principle of “equal pay for equal work”.
The Court relied on the decision of the Supreme Court in “State Bank of India & Anr. Vs M. R. Ganesh Babu & Ors.” 2002 (4) SCC 556 and quoted, “Differentiation in pay scales of persons holding same posts and performing similar work on the basis of difference in the degree of responsibility, reliability and confidentiality would be a valid differentiation.”
“The judgment of administrative authorities concerning the responsibilities which attach to the post, and the degree of reliability expected of an incumbent, would be a value judgment of the authorities concerned which, if arrived at bona fide reasonably and rationally, was not open to interference by the court.”
The court further quoted.

The Court concluded that the Petitioners failed to show that the posts on which they were appointed and the posts with which the petitioners are seeking parity are the same and similar concerning the functions, responsibility, reliability, and confidentiality.
Accordingly, the Court dismissed the Petition.
Cause Title: Jagdish Kumar v. State of Jammu & Kashmir
Appellant: Adv. Shivani Jalali
Respondent: AAG Amit Gupta