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Service matter – option given at the time bifurcation of Rajasthan – as per the option rules, the respondent ought to have retire at the age of 58 years, but he was forced to go on superannuation at the age of 55 years only – High court set aside the orders of trial court and appellate court and allowed the claim – Apex court held that once the State of Rajasthan, with the previous approval of the Central Government, gave an option to Respondent No.1 not confined to any particular age of retirement but to elect between Regulations and the Rules of 1951, Respondent No.1 cannot be subsequently deprived of the benefits of enhanced age of retirement accruing to him on account of amendments in the Regulations made in the year 1962 when Respondent No.1 was still in service. After that amendment in the Regulations, his retirement age legally became 58 years. = State of Rajasthan & Anr. …..Appellants Versus C.P. Singh & Ors. …..Respondents= 2014 ( Apr.Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41386

Service matter – option given at the time bifurcation of Rajasthan – as per the option rules, the respondent ought to have retire at the age of 58 years, but he was forced to go on superannuation at the age of 55 years only – High court set aside the orders of trial court and appellate court and allowed the claim – Apex court held that once the State of Rajasthan, with the previous approval of the Central Government, gave an option to Respondent  No.1 not confined to any particular age of retirement but to elect  between Regulations and  the  Rules  of   1951,   Respondent  No.1  cannot  be subsequently deprived of the benefits of enhanced  age  of  retirement accruing to him on account of amendments in the  Regulations  made  in the year 1962 when Respondent No.1 was still in service.  After  that amendment in the Regulations, his retirement  age  legally  became  58 years.  =

By the impugned judgment, the  High  Court  allowed  the

      Second Appeal, set aside the judgment and decree  of  Trial  Court  as

      well as the First Appellate Court and decreed the Suit  of  Respondent

      No.1  (Plaintiff)  with  a  finding  that  Respondent  No.1  had  been

      illegally made to superannuate on 19.6.1974 at the age  of  55  years,

      as prescribed under the Rajasthan  Service  Rules,  1951  (hereinafter

      referred to as ‘the Rules of 1951’).  

The High Court has also declared

      that Respondent No.1 (Plaintiff) was entitled to continue  in  service

      upto the age of 58 years, i.e., the age  of  retirement  as  per   the

      Central  Civil  Service Regulations (hereinafter referred to  as  ‘the

      Regulations’).  The consequent benefits like pay, increments and other

      service  benefits  have  also  been   granted   to   Respondent   No.1

      (Plaintiff).=

 

 A careful appraisal of the wordings in Rule 11 of the  Rules  of  1957

      also supports the conclusions indicated above.  

 The  option  for  the

      rules applicable to the employee immediately before the appointed  day

      does not contain any restriction  that   the   option  shall   be   to

      such rules excluding the one providing for age of retirement  or  only

      as they stood on a particular day.  

The clause ‘immediately before the

      appointed day’ occurring after the clause ‘rules  applicable  to  him’

      clearly relates to the word ‘applicable’ and it cannot be read to mean

      the rules as ‘existing’ before the appointed day.  

The  elected  rules

      cannot be restricted for any  good  reasons  only  to  the  provisions

      existing in the past on  the  appointed  day  so  as  to  exclude  any

      amendment made in such rules  during  the  service  of  the  concerned

      employee.  

In fact, the  elected  pension  rules  are  to  govern  the

      concerned employee in future also. 

 If the Rules of 1951 will apply to

      the concerned employee who opts for the  same  along  with  amendments

      made in the future, there can be no rationality in the view  that  the

      other rules applicable  before  the  appointed  day  shall  apply  but

      without any amendments even when such amendments are made  during  the

      service period of the employee opting for the same.

  13. The Appellant-State of Rajasthan may be correct in its submission that

      the proviso to sub-section (7)  of  Section  115  of  the  States  Re-

      organisation Act, 1956 does not help Respondent No.1 directly  because

      the age of retirement under the Regulations even before the  appointed

      day  was  only  55  years  and  that  has  not  been  varied  to   his

      disadvantage.  

However, once the State of Rajasthan, with the previous

      approval of the Central Government, gave an option to Respondent  No.1

      not confined to any particular age of retirement but to elect  between

      Regulations and  the  Rules  of   1951,   Respondent  No.1  cannot  be

      subsequently deprived of the benefits of enhanced  age  of  retirement

      accruing to him on account of amendments in the  Regulations  made  in

      the year 1962 when Respondent No.1 was still in service.   

After  that

      amendment in the Regulations, his retirement  age  legally  became  58

      years.  

As discussed above, there is no good reason  to  take  a  view

      contrary to that of the High Court which has answered the  substantial

      question of law  involved  in  the  Second  Appeal  appropriately  and

      correctly.

  14. In the facts of the case, we find no merit in the Civil Appeal and  it

      is accordingly dismissed but without costs.


      2014 ( Apr.Part ) judis.nic.in/supremecourt/filename=41386

ANIL R. DAVE, SHIVA KIRTI SINGH

REPORTABLE

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO.1195 OF 2007

State of Rajasthan & Anr. …..Appellants

Versus

C.P. Singh & Ors. …..Respondents

 
J U D G M E N T

 

SHIVA KIRTI SINGH, J.

1. State of Rajasthan has preferred this Civil Appeal to assail the
judgment and order dated 19.3.2004 in S.B. Civil Second Appeal
No.136/1995. By the impugned judgment, the High Court allowed the
Second Appeal, set aside the judgment and decree of Trial Court as
well as the First Appellate Court and decreed the Suit of Respondent
No.1 (Plaintiff) with a finding that Respondent No.1 had been
illegally made to superannuate on 19.6.1974 at the age of 55 years,
as prescribed under the Rajasthan Service Rules, 1951 (hereinafter
referred to as ‘the Rules of 1951’). The High Court has also declared
that Respondent No.1 (Plaintiff) was entitled to continue in service
upto the age of 58 years, i.e., the age of retirement as per the
Central Civil Service Regulations (hereinafter referred to as ‘the
Regulations’). The consequent benefits like pay, increments and other
service benefits have also been granted to Respondent No.1
(Plaintiff).
2. The essential facts relevant for deciding the issue raised in this
appeal are not in dispute as indicated hereinafter. Respondent No.1
(Plaintiff) was appointed initially in the State of Ajmer and was
governed by service conditions in the Regulations. The State of Ajmer
was a Centrally Administered Part ‘C’ State till its integration with
the State of Rajasthan w.e.f. 01.11.1956. Respondent No.1 was
absorbed in the services of the State of Rajasthan from that date as
Cane Development Assistant. Thus, his service at the time of re-
organisation came to be governed generally by Rules of 1951. As
provided under these Rules, Respondent No.1 was made to retire on
attaining the age of 55 years on 19.6.1974.
3. Respondent No.1 filed Suit No.89/1976 at Jaipur claiming that he was
illegally retired at the age of 55 years and also sought a decree that
he is entitled to continue in service till 30.6.1977 under the
Regulations and was entitled to consequential benefits of pay,
increments, seniority, promotions etc. On contest made by the State
of Rajasthan, the Suit was dismissed with a finding that the services
of Respondent No.1 (Plaintiff) were governed by the Rules of 1951
which prescribed the age of retirement as 55 years.
4. On facts, there was no dispute at any stage of the Suit that
Respondent No.1 was entitled to exercise option under Rule 11 of
Rajasthan Services (Protection of Service Conditions) Rules, 1957
(hereinafter referred to as ‘the Rules of 1957’) and he exercised
that option and elected to be governed, as regards leave and pension,
by the rules applicable to him immediately before the appointed day,
i.e., the Regulations in place of the Rules of 1951. The relevant
part of Rule 11 is as follows :
“11. Leave and Pension Rules.-As regards leave and pension a
Government servant may exercise option of electing either the rules
applicable to him immediately before the appointed day or rules
incorporated in the Rajasthan Service Rules, 1951.
… … … …”

5. The learned Munsif, however, came to the view that the option given by
the Plaintiff related only to leave and pension and not to retirement
or age of retirement. He came to such a view because Rule 11 begins
with the words – “As regards leave and pension” and omits to mention –
“age of retirement”.
6. Respondent No.1’s Regular First Appeal No.192/1980 came to be
dismissed by the learned District Judge, Jaipur City, Jaipur on
17.12.1994 and the view of the Trial Court was upheld. Second Appeal
preferred by Respondent No.1 was, however, allowed by the High Court
by the impugned judgment and order dated 19.3.2004.
7. A perusal of the judgment and order under appeal shows that the High
Court has noticed the relevant facts correctly and, on the basis of
admitted facts, has decided the question of law in favour of
Respondent No.1 by holding that the option in respect of leave and
pension exercised by Respondent No.1 (Plaintiff) made the Regulations
applicable to his service conditions relating to pension and,
therefore, he could not have been retired on the basis of service
conditions with regard to pension in the Rules of 1951. The High
Court noted that though immediately prior to re-organisation of State
of Rajasthan, i.e., 30.10.1956, the age of superannuation under the
Regulations was also 55 years but on account of amendment in the year
1962 it had been raised to 58 years and, therefore, in the year 1974
when the State of Rajasthan decided to consider case of Respondent
No.1 for retirement he should have been given the benefit of
provisions in the Regulations as existing on that date and not
provisions in the Rules of 1951.
8. On behalf of the Appellants, the simple contention is that the option
under Rule 11 of the Rules of 1957 should be confined to the benefits
of pension under the Regulations alone and not to the age of
retirement. In other words, the age at which Respondent No.1 was to
be retired under the Regulations should have been ignored and for this
purpose the age of superannuation in the Rules of 1951 alone should
have been held to be applicable. In the alternative, it has also been
submitted that since the age of superannuation immediately before the
re-organisation of State of Rajasthan even under the Regulations was
55 years, Respondent no.1 should not have been allowed benefit of
enhanced age of superannuation on account of subsequent amendment in
the Regulations made in the year 1962.

9. To the contrary, it has been submitted on behalf of Respondent No.1
that proviso to sub-section (7) of Section 115 of the States Re-
organisation Act, 1956 protected the conditions of service applicable
immediately before the appointed day and they could not be varied to
the disadvantage of Respondent no.1 except with the previous approval
of the Central Government. It has further been submitted that Rules
of 1957 were framed under Article 309 of the Constitution of India
under directions issued by the Central Government under Section 117 of
the States Re-organisation Act, 1956 and the option under Rule 11 with
regard to leave and pension rules was by way of protecting the
conditions of service applicable to Respondent No.1 immediately before
the appointed day. Once Respondent No.1 exercised his option and
elected to be governed by the Rules regarding pension applicable to
him immediately before the appointed day, i.e., the Regulations, the
age of retirement prescribed under the Regulations like other
pensionary provisions would continue to govern him as per the
Regulations amended from time to time till the age of superannuation
as per the Regulations which, since the year 1962 came to be 58 years.
10. On considering the rival submissions, we find merit in the case of
Respondent No.1 because the State of Rajasthan itself framed Rules of
1957 and granted wide and comprehensive option to Respondent No.1 to
elect either to be governed by the Rules applicable to him immediately
before the appointed day or the Rajasthan Service Rules, 1951 in
respect of leave and pension. The option was not limited to any
specific provision in the Regulations relating to pension or those in
the Rajasthan Service Rules, 1951. Since Respondent No.1 opted for
the Regulations as a whole, his retirement benefits had to be governed
by the provisions contained in the Regulations including the age of
retirement as applicable at the relevant date when he could be
retired. His other pensionary benefits would also be governed by the
provisions of the Regulations including amendments made therein and on
this latter aspect there is no dispute.
11. If the submission advanced on behalf of the Appellants is accepted and
if it is held that the age of retirement mentioned in the Regulations
on 30.10.1956 would govern persons like Respondent No.1 and others
governed by the Regulations independently of any option would have
different age of retirement after 1962 amendment, would lead to
inequity as well as denial of equality amongst persons who are
admittedly to be governed by the Regulations. It would be
unreasonable to hold that since a class of employees had opted for the
Regulations, they would not get the benefit of its amendments and
would retire at 55 years whereas another class of employees would have
the benefit of retiring at 58 years of age on account of amendment in
the year 1962.
12. A careful appraisal of the wordings in Rule 11 of the Rules of 1957
also supports the conclusions indicated above. The option for the
rules applicable to the employee immediately before the appointed day
does not contain any restriction that the option shall be to
such rules excluding the one providing for age of retirement or only
as they stood on a particular day. The clause ‘immediately before the
appointed day’ occurring after the clause ‘rules applicable to him’
clearly relates to the word ‘applicable’ and it cannot be read to mean
the rules as ‘existing’ before the appointed day. The elected rules
cannot be restricted for any good reasons only to the provisions
existing in the past on the appointed day so as to exclude any
amendment made in such rules during the service of the concerned
employee. In fact, the elected pension rules are to govern the
concerned employee in future also. If the Rules of 1951 will apply to
the concerned employee who opts for the same along with amendments
made in the future, there can be no rationality in the view that the
other rules applicable before the appointed day shall apply but
without any amendments even when such amendments are made during the
service period of the employee opting for the same.
13. The Appellant-State of Rajasthan may be correct in its submission that
the proviso to sub-section (7) of Section 115 of the States Re-
organisation Act, 1956 does not help Respondent No.1 directly because
the age of retirement under the Regulations even before the appointed
day was only 55 years and that has not been varied to his
disadvantage. However, once the State of Rajasthan, with the previous
approval of the Central Government, gave an option to Respondent No.1
not confined to any particular age of retirement but to elect between
Regulations and the Rules of 1951, Respondent No.1 cannot be
subsequently deprived of the benefits of enhanced age of retirement
accruing to him on account of amendments in the Regulations made in
the year 1962 when Respondent No.1 was still in service. After that
amendment in the Regulations, his retirement age legally became 58
years. As discussed above, there is no good reason to take a view
contrary to that of the High Court which has answered the substantial
question of law involved in the Second Appeal appropriately and
correctly.
14. In the facts of the case, we find no merit in the Civil Appeal and it
is accordingly dismissed but without costs.

……………………………….J.
[ANIL R. DAVE]
………………………………..J.
[SHIVA KIRTI SINGH]

New Delhi.
April 04, 2014.
———————–
8

 

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