Those pinning hopes of an immediate relief from the Punjab and Haryana high court on Haryana government’s decision to roll back the retirement age from 60 to 58 would have been disappointed.
The high court on Friday only issued notice of motion to the state government on a petition challenging Haryana’s decision to roll back the retirement age for its employees from 60 to 58 years but did not grant a stay. About 3,700 employees, including about 800 from Boards and Corporations, will get retired on November 30 following the government’s decision.
The bench of justice Tejinder Singh Dhindhsa asked the state government to file its reply by December 8 on the petitions as battery of lawyers, including senior advocate Rajiv Atma Ram, pleaded before the court that government decision be stayed.
The BJP government, on November 25, had decided to roll back the retirement age. The decision to increase the retirement age from 58 to 60 was taken by the previous Congress government in August 2014 primarily with an eye on polls. The Congress regime had also increase the retirement age for handicapped, the visually impaired, and Group D employees from 60 to 62.
The decision of lowering the age for others (excluding physically and visually impaired and group-D) from 60 to 58 has been challenged by one Baljit Kaur, under secretary, environment, Haryana government, and 70 others in a petition filed on Thursday seeking directions from the court to quash the decision.
The counsels for the petitioners argued that any benefit once granted by the state government to employees could not be taken away with “a stroke of a pen by successor in office”.
“On assuming office the new cabinet ministers immediately in a politically-motivated manner initiated the process of reviewing/reversing the decisions taken by the outgoing government,” the petitioners have submitted while alleging that the decision was politically motivated. The petitioners have argued that decision to fix the age of superannuation at 60 was in terms with recommendations of the 5th Central Pay Commission in its report, which was communicated by the government of India vide its office memorandum on May 30, 1998.
They had also pleaded that many of the affected employees would be those who were to retire earlier but continued working after the government decision in August. But they would now retire, by order, in November 2014.