Case BriefsSupreme Court

Supreme Court: A full court, speaking through A.M. Khanwilkar, J. for himself and Dipak Mishra, CJ and Dr. D.Y.  Chandrachud, dismissed an appeal filed by the Kerala Assistant Public Prosecutors Association against the decision of Kerala High Court which rejected the claim of the members of appellant association to be treated at par with Public Prosecutors in the matter of age of superannuation.

The appellant association claimed that the Assistant Public Prosecutors (APPs) who are officers of law courts should be treated at parity with Public Prosecutors in the matter of retirement age. It is worth noting that age of retirement of APPs appointed before 31st March 2013, is 56 years, while retirement age of Public Prosecutors is 60 years. Their claim was rejected by the Kerala High Court and therefore appeal was filed before the Apex Court.

The Hon’ble Supreme Court cogitated over the rival submissions of the parties and found no infirmity in the conclusion arrived at by the High Court. The concerned APPs are appointed on the advice of Kerala Public Service Commission, after clearing competitive examination. Whereas, Public Prosecutors are appointed by the Government under Kerala Government Law Officers (Appointment and Conditions of Service) and Conduct of Cases Rules 1978. Their method of appointment and conditions of service are different. The APPs are like any other government servants while the Public Prosecutors, appointed for a period of three years, are not government employees and do not enjoy service benefits like APPs. The Court held that merely because they perform similar functions, the APPs cannot be considered at par with Public Prosecutors to make provision for same retirement age. However, APPs were given liberty to approach the State Government to represent the alternatives as suggested by them. [Kerala Assistant Public Prosecutors Association v. State of Kerala, 2018 SCC OnLine 551, dated 17.05.2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: Order passed by the respondent, reducing the basic pay of the petitioner retrospectively after her superannuation, was set aside by a Division Bench comprising of B.R. Gavai and Bharati. H. Dangre, JJ.

The petitioner challenged the recovery of a certain sum on account of reduction in pay scale, ordered by the respondent. The petitioner was appointed as an Assistant Trained Teacher in 1970. She attained superannuation in 2010. The impugned order was passed in 2011 by the respondent on the ground that the basic pay was reduced as per the qualifications of the petitioner.

The High Court perused the record and found that the impugned order was passed after 18 months of petitioner’s retirement. The Court, referring to the judgment of the Supreme Court in Sayed Abdul Qadir v. State of Bihar, (2009) 3 SCC 475, held that such a recovery at the far end of the career of an employee or after his superannuation was not permissible in law. Similarly, the impugned order of the respondent reducing basic pay of the petitioner was also found unsustainable. Accordingly, the impugned order was set aside and the petition was allowed. [Grace George Pampoorickal v. Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai, 2018 SCC OnLine Bom 1037, dated 20-4-2018]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Allahabad High Court: The Court dismissed a service matter stating that the amended age of superannuation cannot be applicable to a retired employee even though the petition was pending during the term of his employment.

The petitioner was an employee of the U.P. Bhumi Sudhar Nigam. The Company proposed to extend the superannuation age from 58 years to 60 years. The petitioner superannuated during the pendency of the proposal. He challenged the retirement notice. Once the proposal was accepted and implemented, the petitioner filed for a writ of mandamus upon the respondents for the salary difference and pension along with a 12% interest from the date of his superannuation.

The Court did not accept the prayer of the petitioner stating that the amended operative age of retirement is applicable prospectively only after it is approved by the State Government. Before such approval, the Corporation does not have any jurisdiction to extend the age. If the employee has already superannuated before the amended rules have been approved, then the pre-amendment rules shall be applicable on him. The extension of age of superannuation shall not be retrospective in nature. [Shanker Dayal Singh v. State of U.P. 2017 SCC OnLine All 1898, decided on 03.07.2017]

Case BriefsHigh CourtsUniversities and Educational Institutions

Punjab and Haryana High Court: While deciding upon 68 writ petitions filed by various Professors and Assistant Professors of the Panjab University and its affiliated colleges, all seeking the writ of Mandamus directing the Central Government and the Panjab University to raise the age of superannuation from service to 65 years, the Bench of Amol Rattan Singh, J., dismissed the petitions stating that the matter of raising the age of superannuation is solely a matter of executive policy.

In the instant petitions it was contended that the respondent University is sui generis and is Centrally governed, controlled and funded and therefore a Central University, and relied upon Section 2 (b) of the Panjab University Act, 1947 and Section 72 of the Punjab Re-Organization Act, 1966, Section 2(d) of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admission) Act, 2006, Article 248 of the Constitution read with Entry 97 in List I of the Seventh Schedule, and Article 254 of the Constitution, read with Clause 2.1.0 of the UGC Regulations 2010. It was contended that since the University is being funded by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development through the UGC, it would also be governed by Clause 2.1.0, per se, and the age of superannuation of its teachers should thus be raised to 65 years. In rebuttal the respondents contended that Panjab University was established by the Panjab University Act, 1947, and at that time, the ‘area of jurisdiction’ of the University covered the undivided State of Punjab. In 1966 upon the reorganization of the State of Punjab University was declared to be an Inter-State body corporate, as per Section 72 (3) of the Punjab Reorganisation Act, 1966.

Upon perusing the contentions, the Court declined to accept the petitioners’ contention to that the plain meaning of the words contained in Clause 2.1.0 of the UGC Regulations must be given effect without any additions or subtractions whatsoever. The Court further perused the letter of the Director (U.II) MHRD, which clarified that the respondent University is not a Central University but an Inter State body; even the documents relied by the petitioners failed to prove the same. It was further added that an increased quantum of funding by the Central Government also does not render the respondent University to be a Central University. The Court thus concluded that it did not find the decision of refusing to raise the age of superannuation as arbitrary. [Bhura Singh Ghuman v. Panjab University2016 SCC OnLine P&H 6385, decided on 16.08.2016]