Previous govt increased retirement age to get political mileage, HC told
The Haryana government on Monday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that the decision of the previous Congress regime to increase the retirement age from 58 to 60 years was "only to gain political mileage" just before the assembly elections.punjab Updated: Dec 08, 2014 21:08 IST
The Haryana government on Monday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that the decision of the previous Congress regime to increase the retirement age from 58 to 60 years was "only to gain political mileage" just before the assembly elections.
In its reply filed before the high court on a bunch of petitions challenging the government decision of rolling back the retirement age from 60 to 58, the government has submitted that the decision of the previous regime was not on the basis of any material nor the issue was placed before the finance department for its consideration. "In fact, the said decision was only to gain political mileage just before the imposition of the model code of conduct," the government informed the high court in its reply.
The government has submitted that in the past also same government had rejected such representations from various employees unions. But "surprisingly" all of a sudden it took a decision to increase the age of retirement. It has claimed that days before the decision was taken the Bhupinder Singh Hooda government had decided to give an option to the employees to serve till the age of 60 provided they are fit to continue in service. But in the cabinet meeting, which took place following the above-said decision, the then government "on its own accord" revised their earlier decision.
The government has termed the decision of the previous Bhupinder Singh Hooda regime "not an honest" one as there was no such (fresh) demand/representation of any of the association or union of the Haryana government employees.
The government has defended the move terming it as a "policy decision" further stating that it was a well-settled law that courts do not interfere in policy decisions. It has also argued that reducing the age of superannuation did not infringe upon the rights of the employees.
"It is domain of the employer to increase or decrease the age of superannuation. It is now also well-settled law that change in age of superannuation does not amount to termination or removal, therefore, no legal right of the petitioners had been infringed by the decision," the government has submitted before the high court demanding that the petition be dismissed. It has also claimed that there were a number of states where the date of retirement was 58 and Haryana was not the only one taking such a decision.
After hearing all sides, the bench of justice Tejinder Singh Dhindsa fixed December 18 as date for final arguments in the case. The HC also directed the government to file reply on other petitions filed after November 28, when the case was heard for the first time and a reply was sought from the government. A large number of petitioners have approached court after that.
As many as 71 petitioners had approached the high court against Manohar Lal Khattar government's decision to roll back the retirement age for its employees from 60 to 58 years on November 28. The BJP government, on November 25, had decided to roll back the retirement age.
The counsels for the petitioners had argued that any benefit once granted by the state government to employees could not be taken away with change of guard and that the decision was politically motivated.
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.