‘Substitute’ has effect of deleting old law; Presiding Officers of DRT allowed to continue till age 65: SC

Supreme Court: The Bench of A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan, JJ. allowed a writ petition filed by Presiding Officers of the Debt Recovery Tribunal seeking benefit of the amended Section 6 of the Recovery of Debts and Bankruptcy Act, 1993.

The unamended Section 6 of the Act, under which petitioners terms of service were governed, provided that such person shall remain in service till completion of 5 years in service or till attaining the age the 62, whichever is earlier. The petitioners had attained the of 62 but the five year period had not completed. The said section was substituted in 2016. The new section, which was to take effect prospectively, provided the age of retirement as 65 years apart from the five-year clause. The question for consideration before the Court was whether the petitioners would be governed by the unamended section or the substituted section. In other words, were the petitioners to retire at the age of 62 or could they continue till 65.

The Supreme Court gave due consideration to the submission made by the parties. It perused the object behind the amendment which was to reduce the pendency of cases by increasing the retiring age of Presiding Officers. Furthermore, the Court observed, wherever the word substitute or substitution is used by the legislature, it has the effect of deleting the old provision and make the new provision operative. Thus, the effect of amendment was to make the old provision non-existent from the date of such enforcement. The Court was of the view that examined in the above-mentioned perspective, the question of prospective or retrospective operation does not arise. Thus, it was held that the petitioners, who were serving at the time of enforcement of amended Section 6 would be given benefit of the same. The petitioners were allowed to continue in service till completion of five years or till attaining the age of 65, whichever is earlier. The petition was allowed. [Gottumukkala Venkata Krishamraju v. Union of India,2018 SCC OnLine SC 1386, decided on 07-09-2018]

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *