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.


Read Other Articles from Advocate Amit Bajaj

(Author – Amit Bajaj Advocate, Bajaj & Bajaj Advocates, 128, Sangam complex, Milap chowk, Jalandhar City (Punjab), Email: amit@amitbajajadvocate.com, M +919815243335)

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  1. Rajan says:

    I don’t think commenting here will do any good about this kind of discrimination. Somebody should initiate a PIL or something in court for the matter to get the attention of the government and hopefully the change the law in accordance with Article 14 of our Constitution.

  2. Vipul says:

    A funny take on the Gender bias would be that women fight for equality

    Womens quota, womens bill, higher tax limits (ok they usually dont fight for tax limits).

    But I think after few years men will have to do the same 🙂 lol

    Mens quota, Mens bill, higher tax limits 🙂 lol

  3. Praveen Bangalore says:

    I completely agree with the views expressed here. I expect women members of the society to comment on this. Lets see if they also think the same way. When everybody does not like gender bias it has to be respected from everyone.

  4. Rehbar Siamwala says:

    This was proposed when people had thought that women r not supposed to work, now when things are changing in the modern world and women coming head to head with men these concession should would be removed and equality should be brought in the tax provisions as well, Thus the point raised by Mr. Bajaj is truly valid..

  5. Arvind Singh says:

    Good article, I agree that if we get equal pay then should be equal tax also.But fact some different The theory of equal pay for equal work is viewed as a fundamental right but there are so many contradictions to it. The principle loses its applicability in most cases, where the quantity of work is same, but the quality of performance is different.

  6. KA Salian says:

    This is one of the cases where, the elected representatives pass the legislation without applying their mind. Also sometimes, it is the whims and fancy of the minister concerned. For example, the increased limit of gratuity amount of Rs:10.0 lacs is applicable to government employees with effect from 1.1.2006. However, for employees in the private sector, the effective date is 24.5.2010. Such an irrational act has deprived Rs:6.5 lacs from employees retired from private sector between 1.1.2006 to 23.5.2010, Does this has any logic? Then what fundamental rights and equality we are talking of?

  7. Chandan bagaria says:

    Equality before law means that the applicability of the law will be on equitable basis and there will be no favourism to any caste, society and segment of the population. There will be no discrimination. The question of higher exemption limit to a woman assessee is not the question whether there is equality before law or not. As the Provisions of higher exemption limit is itself Inherent in the law. What matters most in this issue is the Intention of the Law. The plain reading of the law gives us the idea that it was not done as a favourism to the woman assessee when the finance Act was first drafted but for the upliftment of the woman assessee , as an incentive to them for the betterment of the living standard of woman, The intention of the law is to support the woman assessee just like it does with the Agricultulist, Exporters, Special economic Zone etc. Any special exemption given to any particular class of the assessee among the total tax paying population of the country do not violate Article 14 of the constitution. It is merely an application of the act or may be to achieve a much more broader objective of the Law of the Land.

    Thank You,
    CA Chandan Bagaria

  8. Darshan says:

    I agree with what Mr.Vinod says,instead of looking at the Tax benefit or concession which one gets individually, we should look at the tax benefit flowing to a family or society as a whole, the government is definitely not going to raise the exemption limit for men as it would incur a loss of revenue in doing so..the only thing it may do is to lower the exemption slab for women to bring it on par with men!!..but who is going to be benefitted if that happens? it’s obviously our politicians!!,.instead of that a working couple can manage to save tax to the extent of the greater exemption available to the wife!!

  9. Ravindra Kumar Singh says:

    Is there any fundamental right avialable to the Common man in India? Parliament is empowered to do anything without any justification.

    This is also the same case like other reservation etc. in the name of cast, religion, group and so on. Judisial system is busy with proving their power in the field of old privelling system and survival of their jobs as well as post retirment postings.

  10. JPS Patwal says:

    In fact the lower rate of tax be allowed to a member of the family who is the sole bread earner. May he be male or female as In a family, husband, wife, HUF being earning persons/concerns are able to bring more take home income whereas there being only one earning memeber in a family gets lesser take home income. This rationale may help in establishing the doctrine of socio- economic equality.

  11. ANIL says:

    To bring up underprivileged women into the main stream of the society financial benefits can be given. Tax benefits to working women who are normally the second earning member of the family is an injustice .Many working men are the only earners of their family and taxing them more reduces their income which in turn affects the standard of living of his family which includes his wife, who is a woman.
    Benefit should be given to men who are the single earning members of the family. It is indirectly a gift to the housewife. Otherwise some financial aid may be granted to unemployed housewives instead of giving tax benefits to working women who are the second income earner for their family.

  12. Pankaj says:

    I agree with Kumar.P. I think more exemption provided to women is not biased. At least it would encourage women to come forward and work for the country.

  13. Ramniklal Dedhia says:

    only for popular budget declarations to get votes and familiarise among womens protector the financ eministers always playing with the gimmick they dont have an idea about the pld laws of incometax where theose with childrens, parent were given more concession while calculating the tax compared to single person earning same.

    A person with Family, & children and dependent person are doing the job of Governments helping senior citizens and lifiting the burden of education to children both is the duty of Governments. The savings factor is Zero and pays higher Tax
    A Person who is Single no dependent, no family and in many cases double Income No Issue where his saving factor is high and pays less taxes Imagine Ministers are encouraging those who can boost the II Tier of Economy

  14. P.G.JAMES says:

    It is high time to put an end to such discrimination in taxation. All are equal before law irrespective of caste , creed or gender. Then why this anomaly. I sincerely wish and pray for somebody moving to Court in this regard.

  15. Kumar.P says:

    In Our country(India) we give some priority (respect) to ladies for the pupose of active paricipation in the society,so that Govt. provides that facility for them. we consider the human law, so there is no wrong for giving high tax emption slab for woman.

  16. KRISHNAN.S says:

    There is no discrimination.After all a man’s mother is a woman so also his wife and children.For the sacrifices a woman has made/makes she requires recognition from the society and this recognition can be achieved only by the Government through enactment of law and there is nothing wrong in this law

  17. SUNIL MISHRA says:

    Thanks to Mr Bajaj for pointing out such a major mistake (can say). As the ministers (most of them) sitting in parliament are not well versed with ‘The Contitution’ and are working only with the help of their subordinates or assistants. May be they have done it after having some ‘SWEET BUN.’ I read somewhere that ‘Hamare desh ki nyayapalika chor bhi hai aur chatur bhi.’ (just a saying)

    So may be after knowing all the loose points of Article 14 of constitution this step has been initiated by them. And one thing is dead sure that if you are keen to know about this thru RTI, then you will be provided satisfactory answers by them.


  18. S.P. Manchanda says:

    There is no justification of any discrimination of tax limit. Women always fight for equality. They cannot ask for concession at the same time. It was only a ‘soft corner’ in the mind of then finance minister at that point of time which helped the working women and which continued without protest. Article 14 of the constitution must be respected and this discrimination without logic must be scrapped immediately

  19. p.shankar says:

    When law is equal to both men and women, the income tax law should not discriminate by giving concession in tax . so, even the men should be given basic exemption upto rs.1,90,000/-, as it is given to women assessee.

  20. SWAPAN SARKAR says:

    Allowed tax limit for women Rs1,90,000/- and for men Rs 1,60,000/- unjustified. Govt. should revised the tax limit rule immediately. It appears that they have fixed the tax limit without considering the rule of article 14 of the constitution.

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December 2023