Increase in retirement age of public servants is not to save money, State tells High Court

A policy decision taken by the govt., it says without citing any reasons

The State government on Tuesday denied as “false and wholly baseless” a claim that it had increased the retirement age of public servants from 58 to 59 only to prevent disbursal of terminal benefits to the tune of ₹5,000 crore and instead use the money to fight COVID-19.

Justices R. Subbiah and Krishnan Ramasamy of the Madras High Court were told that the increase in retirement age was a policy decision of the government and that an order issued by it in this regard on May 7 does not cite any reason for the increase.

The submissions were made in a counter affidavit filed in response to a public interest litigation petition preferred by advocate M. Karpagam, through her counsel R. Prabhakaran, against extending the benefit to government employees facing corruption charges.

Opposing the petitioner’s plea, the government told the court that the May 7 GO had been made applicable to all government servants irrespective of those facing disciplinary proceedings since their guilt could be proved only after conclusion of inquiry and not before that.

The government also stated that there were well laid down procedures for conducting inquiries against government servants and that they could be prevented from retiring even after attaining the age of superannuation just to complete the disciplinary proceedings.

Further, a government letter issued on May 14 had clarified that the May 7 GO would not be applicable to those who had not been allowed to retire as on April 30 and whose services had been retained for the limited purpose of concluding disciplinary proceedings.

The GO provides for extending the retirement age only for those who were due to retire from service on May 30 and beyond. Therefore, nothing survives in the PIL petition for adjudication as the government had taken all issues in consideration before issuing the GO, it said.

After taking the counter on file, the judges reserved their orders in the case after granting liberty to the petitioner to file a rejoinder, if she preferred to do so.

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Printable version | Jul 6, 2020 10:16:28 AM |

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