Is Exemption of Rs 190000 to women as compared to exemption limit of Rs 160000 to men under income Tax Act 1961, violative of Article 14 of constitution?
Under the Income tax act 1961 there is basic exemption limit of Rs 160000 available to non senior citizen male assessees and Rs 190000 to the non senior citizen female assessees.
Can there be any reasonable justification for more exemption to females. Is it just gender biased taxation. Suppose a woman is working as a clerk and earning salary of Rs 190000, similarly a man is working in the same office in the same designation as the woman is and earning same salary of Rs 190000, then in such case man will be paying tax of Rs 3000 and woman will be paying no tax. Is it equality before law? Isn’t it violation of article 14 of the constitution?
Article 14 of the constitution provides the Fundamental right of equality before Law to all the citizens of India. It upheld the rule of law. Rule of law ensures equality to every person before the law of the land. There are also certain exceptions to the rule of law one of which is, the rule of law does not prevent certain classes of persons being subject to separate rules. The equal protection of laws guaranteed by Article 14 doesn’t mean that all laws must be general in character and the same laws should apply to all persons
Thus article 14 permits classification of persons objects and transactions by the legislature for the purpose of achieving specific ends but not class legislation. But such classification must be founded on intelligible differentia which distinguishes persons or things that are grouped together from others left out of the group and the differentia must have a rationale relation to the object of the act.
What is necessary that there must be a nexus between the basis of classification and the object of the Act. Now can there be a reasonable justification or nexus with the object of Income Tax Act 1961 for giving exemption to women of Rs 190000 and Rs 160000 to men.
It is also a well settled principle that there must be equal pay for equal work, and if men and women are doing equal work then they must be paid equally otherwise it amounts to violation of article 14 i.e. fundamental right of equality before law.
Considering the above principle why different tax exemption is provided to same woman and man who are working on the same designation and are doing equal work. A woman earning salary of Rs 190000 will be paying no tax where as a man who is doing the same job as the woman and getting same salary of Rs 190000 will be paying tax of Rs 3000.
Equal pay for Equal work why not Equal taxation?
As stated above there should be equal pay for equal work for both men and women as per requirement of article 14 of constitution. Then why there is no equal taxation where men and women are doing equal work and are earning equal pay. Why men will have to pay more tax in such case?
If a law within the range of its selection for classification operates unequally and cannot be justified on the basis of a valid classification then it should be considered as violative of article 14 of the constitution. A taxation provision should be struck down as violative of Article 14 of the constitution if there is no reasonable basis behind the classification made by it. What can be a reason to justify more exemption to women?
Is it a violation of article 14 of the constitution? Is it a mere gender biased law or also violative of article 14?
Please provide you valuable comments.
AMIT BAJAJ ADVOCATE
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