A mere differential treatment on its own cannot be termed as an anathema to Article 14.
When there is a reasonable basis for a classification adopted by taking note of exigencies and diverse situations, Court is not expected to insist on absolute equality by taking a rigid and pedantic view as against a pragmatic one.
When differentiation is clearly distinguishable with adequate demarcation duly identified, object of Article 14 gets satisfied. A valid classification is nothing but a valid discrimination.
When two identified groups are not equal, certainly they cannot be treated as a homogeneous group. A reasonable classification certainly would not injure equality enshrined under Article 14. An interference would only be called for, on Court being convinced: a classification causes inequality among similarly placed persons. As long as it does not smack of inherent arbitrariness and conforms to justice and fair play, there may not be any reason to interfere with it.
– Hon’ble Justice M.M. Sundresh, State of Uttarakhand v. Sudhir Budakoti, [Civil Appeal No. 2661 of 2015].
We need to remind ourselves, dictum of this Court in Rustom Cavasjee Cooper v. Union of India, (1970) 1 SCC 248 and also R.K. Garg v. Union of India, (1981) 4 SCC 675. It is not for Court to consider relative merits of different political theories or economic policies. Being troubled with crudities, inequities, uncertainties or possibility of abuse cannot strike down an economic legislation.
– Hon’ble Justice A.M. Khanwilkar, Noel Harper v. Union of India, [Writ Petition (Civil) No. 566 of 2021] decided on 08.04.2022.