Saturday, 4 October 2014


SC dismisses plea against Armed Forces Tribunal order

“It is trite law that equals shall be treated as equals and in its application to public service, this simply means that once several persons have become members of one service, whether by promotion or length of service, they stand as equals and cannot, thereafter, be invidiously differentiated for purposes of salary, seniority, promotion or retirement,” the Supreme Court has held.

Giving this ruling, a Bench of Justices T.S. Thakur and C. Nagappan said: “Birthmarks of public servants are obliterated on entry into a common pool and our country does not believe in official casteism or blue blood as assuring preferential treatment in the future career.”

In the Air Force the Centre fixed the retirement age of Group Captains (Time Scale) in ground duty at 52 years and in flying duty at 54 years but the retirement age for Group Captains (Select) in ground duty was fixed at 54 and in flying duty at 57. The Armed Forces Tribunal quashed this discrimination and the present appeal is directed against this judgment.

The Bench dismissing an appeal from the Union of India against this order said: “the classification made by the Government for purposes of different retirement age for ‘Time Scale Officers’ and ‘Select Officers’ does not stand scrutiny on the touchstone of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution as rightly held by the Tribunal.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Thakur said: “Suffice it to say that the basis for classification in question for purposes of age of superannuation which the appellant has projected is much too tenuous to be accepted as a valid basis for giving to the Time Scale Officers a treatment different from the one given to the Select Officers. We are also of the view that concerns arising from a parity in the retirement age of Time Scale and Select Officers too are more perceptional than real. Merely because the sources of recruitment are different, there cannot be ‘apartheidisation’ within the common service.”

It said “the difference in employability of Group Captains (TS) is not borne out to justify the classification made by the Government. It is evident from the particulars given by the respondents that several Group Captains (TS) have held appointments which are also held by Group Captains (Select). If that be so, the difference in the employability of Time Scale officers vis-à-vis Select officers appears to be more illusory than real.’

Source:- The Hindu

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