Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Classification continued

Classification: Powers of the Government/Legislature to create and protect classes in conformity with the stated objective:

1.       Independent Newspapers Corporation (Pvt) Limited v. Chairman Fourth Wage Award 1999 SCMR 1533

We are conscious that the purpose of Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act,, 1973, is the betterment of the financial condition of the persons employed in the Newspaper Establishment and it should receive beneficent construction but in an interpretative effort to pragmatize this piece of legislation and treat a particular benefit as wages and then fix the rate thereof, the       Wage Board cannot travel beyond the spectrum of  the impact of its decision on the Newspaper Industry, ignore the factors envisaged by section 10 of the Act, which is not exhaustive in character and determinative of all the relevant considerations p regulating the fixation of wages. The Board has to act objectively and not subjectively. We are, therefore, unable to accept grant of so large a width to the powers of the Board to brand such a benefit as wages.

2.       Pakistan Herald Publications (Pvt) Limited v. Federation of Pakistan and 21 others 1998 CLC 65 
It was, therefore, necessary to ensure that all those persons who are engaged in bringing out newspapers should be free from shackle of economic misery and the resultant sense of despondency. The nature of duties being performed by the journalists may be unique and of more importance but it is equally clear that without the participation of other non‑journalists employees it is not possible to bring out a newspaper. The legislature, being alive to this position, has chosen to frame the law for the newspaper industry as a whole which by itself is a separate class. This classification cannot be said to be arbitrary or irrational and the question of violation of Article 25 of the Constitution which does not prohibit reasonable classification, does not arise. It may be noticed that the earlier law namely the Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) Ordinance, 1960 provides for fixation of wages of the working journalists only which was found to be unsatisfactory. The Newspapers Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1973 which repealed the aforesaid Ordinance, therefore, provides for fixation of wages of both whole time journalists and whole time non‑journalists and defined in sub‑clause (i) and sub‑clause (ii) of clau3e (8) of section 2 of the Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1973.  There is also merit in the contention of Mr. Minto that the grant of better conditions of service only to the journalists as compared to other persons engaged in bringing out of the newspapers tended to create friction among the two sets of employees and was not congenial to the better relations inter se. It may also be mentioned here that relevant law in India namely The Working Journalists (Conditions of Service) and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955 was originally applicable only to working journalists but by subsequent amendment, provision has been made for fixing wages of the non journalists also. In Independent Newspapers Corporation (Pvt.) Ltd. v. Chairman Fourth Wage Board and Implementation Tribunal for Newspaper Employees, Government of Pakistan, Islamabad (1993 SCMR 1533), it was observed that the purpose of Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) Act, 1973 is the betterment of financial condition of persons employed in the newspaper establishments and it should receive beneficial construction.

3.       U.S. RAILROAD RETIREMENT BD. v. FRITZ, 449 U.S. 166 (1980)
(Problematic judgment- while rational classification is upheld so is distinction between two classes of employees within the railroad employment)
Facts of the Case
Appellee and others filed a class action in Federal District Court for a declaratory judgment that 231b (h) is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment, contending that it was irrational for Congress to distinguish between employees who had more than 10 years but less than 25 years of railroad employment simply on the basis of whether they had a "current connection" with the railroad industry as of the changeover date or as of the date of retirement. The District Court certified a plaintiff class of all persons eligible to retire between January 1, 1975, and January 31, 1977, who were permanently insured under the Social Security Act as of December 31, 1974, but who were not eligible to receive any windfall benefits because they had left the [449 U.S. 166, 167]   railroad industry before 1974, had no "current connection" with it at the end of 1974, and had less than 25 years of railroad service. The district court held that the differentiation based solely on whether an employee was "active" in the railroad business as of 1974 was not "rationally related" to the congressional purposes of insuring the solvency of the railroad retirement system and protecting vested benefits.

The US Supreme Court Ruled:

When social and economic legislation enacted by Congress is challenged on equal protection grounds as being violative of the Fifth Amendment, the rational-basis standard is the appropriate standard of judicial review. If the classification has some "reasonable basis," it does not offend the Constitution simply because the classification is not made with mathematical nicety or because in practice it results in some inequality. This Court will not invalidate on equal protection grounds legislation that it simply deems unwise or unartfully drawn. Cf., e. g., Dandridge v. Williams, 397 U.S. 471 ; Jefferson v. Hackney, 406 U.S. 535 . Pp. 174-176.

Under such principles, 231b (h) does not violate the Fifth Amendment. Because Congress could have eliminated windfall benefits for all classes of employees, it is not constitutionally impermissible for Congress to have drawn lines between groups of employees for the purpose of phasing out those benefits. Congress did not achieve its purpose in a patently arbitrary or irrational way, since it could properly conclude that persons who had actually acquired statutory entitlement to windfall benefits while still employed in the railroad industry had a greater equitable claim to those benefits than the members of the plaintiff class who were no longer in railroad employment when they became eligible for dual benefits. Furthermore, the "current connection" test is not a patently arbitrary means for determining which employees are "career railroaders," the class for whom the 1974 Act was designed. Pp. 176-178.

Nor is there merit to the District Court's conclusion that Congress was unaware of what it accomplished or that it was misled by the groups that appeared before it. The language of the statute is clear, and it has been historically assumed that Congress intended what it enacted. P. 179.

4.                   SCHWEIKER v. WILSON, 450 U.S. 221 (1981)

Facts of the Case:

Appellees, aged 21 through 64 and residing in public mental institutions that do not receive Medicaid funds for their care, brought a class action in Federal District Court challenging their exclusion from the reduced SSI benefits. The District Court held such exclusion unconstitutional as violative of the equal protection guarantees of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment on the ground that the "mental health" classification could not withstand judicial scrutiny because it did not have a "substantial relation" to the object of the legislation in light of its "primary purpose."

The US Supreme Court Ruled:
 In 1611 (e) (1) (B), Congress made a distinction not between the mentally ill and a group composed of nonmentally ill, but between residents in public institutions receiving Medicaid funds for their care and residents in such institutions not receiving such funds. To the extent that the statute has an indirect impact upon the mentally ill as a subset of publicly institutionalized persons, the record in this case presents no statistical support for a contention that the mentally ill as a class are burdened disproportionately to any other class affected by the classification. The indirect deprivation worked by this legislation upon appellees' class, whether or not the class is considered "suspect," does not, in the absence of any evidence that Congress deliberately intended to discriminate against the mentally ill, move this Court to regard it with a heightened scrutiny. Pp. 230-234.

 The classification employed in 1611 (e) (1) (B) is to be judged under the rational-basis standard, which does not allow this Court to [450 U.S. 221, 222]   substitute its personal notions of good public policy for those of Congress. Under this standard, and based on the legislative history, it was not irrational for Congress to elect, in view of budgetary constraints, to shoulder only part of the burden of supplying a "comfort money" allowance, leaving the States with the primary responsibility for making such an allowance available to those residents in state-run institutions, and to decide that it is the Medicaid recipients in public institutions who are the most needy and deserving of the SSI benefits. Pp. 234-239.

5.       Vance v. Bradley, 440 U.S. 93 (1979)

Facts of the Case:
Section 632 of the Foreign Service Act of 1946, which requires persons covered by the Foreign Service retirement system to retire at age 60, though no mandatory retirement age is established for Civil Service employees, including those who serve abroad
The US Supreme Court Ruled:
(Even if the classification at issue here is to some extent both underinclusive and overinclusive, perfection is not required to satisfy equal protection standards, and such imperfection as exists can be rationally related to the secondary objective of legislative convenience. Pp. 440 U. S. 108-109.
Appellees have not satisfied the burden of demonstrating that Congress had no reasonable basis for believing that conditions overseas generally are more demanding than those in this country and that, at age 60 or before, many persons begin to decline. Pp. 440 U. S. 109-112.

6.                   Williamson v. Lee Optical, Inc., 348 U.S. 483 (1955)

Facts of the Case
The optician plaintiff brought suit to have a 1953 Oklahoma law declared unconstitutional and to enjoin state officials from enforcing it. The law at issue (59 Okla. Stat. Ann. §§ 941-947, Okla. Laws 1953, c. 13, §§ 2-8) contained provisions making it unlawful for any person not a licensed optometrist or ophthalmologist to fit lenses to a face or to duplicate or replace into frames lenses or other optical appliances, except upon written prescriptive authority of an Oklahoma licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist. This law required every individual seeking to have eye glasses made, repaired, or refitted to obtain a prescription. This jeopardized the profitability and even the survival of Oklahoma opticians.
The US Supreme Court Ruled:
“Geographical location may be an important consideration in a legislative program which aims to raise the treatment of the human eye to a strictly professional level. We cannot say that the regulation has no rational relation to that objective and therefore is beyond constitutional bounds.” At Page 348 US 491

7.       GOESAERT V. CLEARY , 335 U.S. 464 (1948)

Facts of the Case:

A Michigan Law forbade women bartenders to be licensed but created an exception for wives and daughters of the male owner of a bar.

The US Supreme Court ruled:
But the Constitution does not require situations 'which are different in fact or opinion to be treated in law as though they were the same.' Tigner v. State of Texas, 310 U.S. 141, 147 , 882, 130 A.L.R. 1321. Since bartending by women may, in the allowable legislative judgment, give rise to moral and social problems against which it may devise preventive measures, the legislature need not go to the full length of prohibition if it believes that as to a defined group of females other factors are operating which either eliminate or reduce the moral and social problems otherwise calling for prohibition. Michigan evidently believes that the oversight assured through ownership of a bar by a barmaid's husband or father minimizes hazards that may confront a barmaid without such protecting oversight. This Court is certainly not in a position to gainsay such belief by the Michigan legislature. If it is entertainable, as we think it is, Michigan has not violated its duty to afford equal protection of its laws.
8.    West Coast Hotel Co. v. Parrish, 300 U.S. 379 (1937)

Facts of the Case:
This was an appeal from a judgment for money directed by the Supreme Court of Washington, reversing the trial court, in an action by a chambermaid against a hotel company to recover the difference between the amount of wages paid or tendered to her as per contract and a larger amount computed on the minimum wage fixed by a state board or commission.
The US Supreme Court ruled:
 In dealing with the relation of employer and employed, the legislature has necessarily a wide field of discretion in order that there may be suitable protection of health and safety, and that peace and good order may be promoted through regulations designed to insure wholesome conditions of work and freedom from oppression. P. 300 U. S. 393.
The State has a special interest in protecting women against employment contracts which through poor working conditions, long hours or scant wages may leave them inadequately supported and undermine their health; Pp. 300 U. S. 394, 300 U. S. 398,

9.       Gopi Chand v. Delhi Administration AIR 1959 SC 609
While this judgment upheld the classification it did so after laying down principles required for such classification to enjoy constitutional validity.
Indian Supreme Court ruled:
“..it has been consistently held that Art. 14 does not forbid reasonable classifications for the purpose of legislation… two tests… The classification should be based on intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things grouped together in one class from others left out of it and the differentia must have a reasonable or rational nexus with the object sought to be achieved by the said impugned provision… but the validity of the two tests have to be applied in determining the vires of the impugned statute under Art. 14 cannot be doubted.” Para 10 on Page 614

10.               Om Kumar & Others vs Union Of India 2000 (7) SCALE 524, 2000 Supp 4  SCR 693
This judgment prescribed the reasonableness test. It was held that where administrative action is challenged under Article 14 as being discriminatory, equals are treated unequally or unequals are treated equally, the question is for the constitutional courts as primary reviewing courts to consider the correctness of the level of discrimination applied and whether it is excessive and whether it has a nexus with the objective intended to be achieved by the administrator. For judging the arbitrariness of the order, the test of unreasonableness may be applied. The action of the State, thus, must be judged with extreme care and circumspection. It must be borne in mind that the right of the public prosecutor or the district counsel do not flow under a statute.
Indian Supreme Court ruled:
The courts will only have to see whether the administrator has done well in his primary role, whether he has acted illegally or has omitted relevant factors from consideration or has taken irrelevant factors into consideration or whether his view is one which no reasonable person could have taken. If his action does not satisfy these rules, it is to be treated as arbitrary. See Para 67.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be respectful and you shall be heard.