Special Correspondent

Says the Chief Justice does not have the authority to bypass the Government

Describes court’s decision as arbitrary

DYFI plans protest rallies against nuke deal

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The State leadership of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI) has come down heavily on the Kerala High Court decision to raise the retirement age of its staff from 55 to 58 years.

At a news conference here on Monday, DYFI State president M.B. Rajesh and secretary T.V. Rajesh urged the State Government to enact a law to thwart the decision, which, they said, would have serious consequences in a State where unemployment among educated youth was acute.

The DYFI leaders said the decision of the Single Bench in a case filed by former employees of the court amounted to ratification of a decision taken by the Chief Justice amending Rule 37(1) of the Kerala High Court service rules.

The Chief Justice’s decision took effect on January 1, 2007.

The DYFI had whipped a wave of protest against the decision and the State Government too had objected to it, pointing out that it involved additional financial burden and had been taken without the approval of the Governor.

The retired employees who were continuing in service on the strength of the Chief Justice’s decision had moved the High Court questioning the Government decision to withhold their salaries.

The Single Bench had ratified the Chief Justice’s decision while disposing of this case.

The DYFI leaders said that under Article 229 (2) of the Constitution, only the Legislative Assembly had the power to fix the salary and service conditions of employees and that it was clear that the Chief Justice did not have the authority to bypass the Government and the Assembly when deciding such matters.

They claimed that legal experts were of the view that the Chief Justice’s decision had several undemocratic aspects to it.

Since the “arbitrary” decision of the court would adversely affect the youth in the State, the Government should immediately go in for legislation to nullify it, they added.

The DYFI leaders said the organisation had decided to take out protest marches all over the State on Friday to protest against the Indo-U.S. nuclear deal and the Central Government’s decision to hold joint military exercises with the U.S., Japan, Australia and Singapore.

On September 8, marches would be taken to the Naval Base, Kochi, and the Naval Academy at Ezhimala in Kasaragod.

Meetings would be held at all block centres the same day, they said.