The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday dismissed a bunch of petitions seeking enhancement of retirement age of Panjab University faculty from 60 to 65 years.
Though the detailed judgment is awaited, the HC bench of justice Amol Rattan Singh said all petitions seeking enhancement of retirement age by PU faculty members and college teachers are dismissed. The court also directed the university to retire these teachers with immediate effect and gave liberty to PU to recover the salary paid during extended tenures.
The bench said in open court that Central government was categorical that for the purpose of retirement age of teachers, the university was not a centrally-funded institution.
“If they (Centre) wanted to (enhance the retirement age), they would have done so,” the HC bench observed. Justice Singh also refused to entertain repeated pleas of one of petitioner’s counsel, Puneet Jindal that teachers be allowed to continue for the time being. “I have passed the order. I can’t do anything now,” justice Singh said.
45 PU teachers, 23 professors to retire
The HC order would immediately affect 45-odd professors of PU and 23 professors and others from city colleges. The matter had reached the court in June 2014 and on June 30, a HC bench had stayed the retirement orders of a faculty member.
PU professors had petitioned that the varsity had failed to implement the Central government’s composite scheme of 2008 enhancing the retirement age from 60 to 65 years, even as it was funded by the central government to the extent of 92%. They had also argued that PU had decided to adopt and implement the UGC regulations, 2010, vide resolution dated June 29, 2010 and in December 2011, the varsity amended a regulation (17.3) raising the age of superannuation of teachers to 65.
In December 2015, the Central government told the court that PU was not a ‘centrally-funded’ institution for the purpose of 2007 circular (whereby retirement age in centrally-funded institutes was enhanced) as some part of the funding was made by the state government (Punjab). Following this, the teachers filed an amended petition. Besides, Centre, Punjab government too had opposed the increase in retirement age. It had stated that various judgments had settled that PU had been established neither under any central Act nor any state Act.
In court, the PU stood by the faculty members. In two years, 80-odd hearings were held justice Singh heard around 50.