The Supreme Court has held that though the government has got the power to amend a rule with retrospective effect, the same cannot take away the existing rights and benefits conferred on the employees.
Article 309 of the Constitution empowers the government to frame rules for regulating service conditions of employees.
"It is no doubt true that Rules under Article 309 can be made so as to operate with retrospective effect. But it is well settled that rights and benefits which have already been earned or acquired under the existing rules cannot be taken away by amending the rules with retrospective effect," a bench of Justices R V Raveendran and B Sudershan Reddy ruled.
The apex court passed the ruling in a judgement dismissing the appeal of Madhya Pradesh government, which contended that it has absolute power in the rule-making process under Article 309.
In the present case, the State Administrative Tribunal had directed the government to pay non-practising allowance to government doctors working in Employees State Insurance Corporation at the originally fixed 25 per cent of the basic pay.