The University Grant Commission’s (UGC) 2018 regulation of enhancing the age of retirement for university teachers to 65 from 62 is not binding on the State government and the State universities, said the High Court of Karnataka.
Pointing out that the UGC, in its communications to the State universities on its 2018 regulations, has left to the wisdom of the State universities to fix the age of superannuation, the court observed that: “Whether it is prudent to retain old blood or to infuse fresh one is best left to the wisdom of the state executive and the universities.”
A Division Bench comprising Justice Krishna S. Dixit and Justice P. Krishna Bhat passed the order while rejecting the pleas of Chidananda P. Mansur, who till recently served as Dean (Agri) in the College of Agriculture, Hubballi. The Bench also upheld findings by a judge, who had rejected claim for enhancement of retirement age to 65 by a few other teachers.
Dr. Mansur, who was nearing retirement age of 62 years when the petition was filed, had sought a direction from the court to continue him in the service till the age of 65 by applying the UGC’s 2018 regulation while claiming that it was mandatory for the State and its universities.
While accepting the contention on behalf of the State government and the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, that UGC’s regulations are not obligatory on them, the Bench also said that “at what age teachers in universities/constituent college should retire is purely within the domain of the State executive, which bears the expenditures towards their salary, emoluments and terminal benefits.”
Rejecting the petitioner’s plea for ordering extension of his service till 65 years, the court said that fixation of age of retirement of public servants has a bearing on the State exchequer and the employment opportunities for others.
“We are told at the Bar that there are thousands of employees in various universities and in the constituent and affiliated colleges. If the prayer, as sought for, is granted, all these employees would continue in the office for an additional period of three years and eventually, there would be no vacancies for fresh appointments. This is not desirable,” the Bench observed.