Taking up a public interest litigation highlighting that justice RL Anand (retd), 72, was holding the Punjab educational tribunal chairman’s post for over seven years because there was no fixed term or maximum age limit for the post, the Punjab and Haryana high court has given a notice to the Punjab government.
The petition filed by Manisha Garg, a Chandigarh resident, came up for hearing on Wednesday before the division bench comprising chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and justice Arun Palli.
The petitioner has sought quashing of amendment in Section 7- A of the Punjab Affiliated Colleges (Security of Service) Act, 1974, insofar as it does not provide for any upper age limit and term of office for holding the office of chairman of the educational tribunal. The amendment was carried out in February 2008. Though the provision of upper age limit, which was 65, existed earlier in the original Section 7-A.
Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Puneet Gupta argued that the appointment for life tenure to an individual on any post is unconstitutional and unsustainable, whereas Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution mandate the grant of equal opportunity to one and all.
The court was apprised that justice RL Anand retired from the Punjab and Haryana high court in April 2003 on attaining the age of 62 and was appointed chairman of the Punjab educational tribunal in January 2009 when he was 67. It was informed that he would turn 73 on April 1 this year.
It was also submitted that the state government’s action was contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in case of ‘Kashmir Singh versus Union of India and others’ of 2008.