Decided on April 23,2007

Jayanti Alam Appellant
Indian Social Institute And Anr Respondents


- (1.) The appellant was the employee of the respondent No. 1 - Indian Social Institute (hereinafter referred to as 'the Institute') and was appointed as Senior Programme Officer vide appointment letter dated 13.2.1995. This appointment letter stipulates certain terms and conditions on which she was appointed, which include the salary to be paid to her, probation period, duties to be discharged by her, hours of work, etc. In the appointment letter itself, it was mentioned that the appellant shall retire on attaining the age of 58 years. Her date of birth is also mentioned in this clause. She was also to be governed by the Service Rules of the Institute. On the date of her appointment, Service Rules which were applicable to the employees of the Institute were the rules promulgated on 1.4.1993. The said rules governing the employees also mention the age of employees as 58 years. It appears that, thereafter, the Governing Body of the respondent No. 1 Institute had modified the age of retirement and reduced it to 55 years on 20.3.1999. As the appellant had already attained the age of 55 years as on that date, she was made to retire vide order dated 3.5.1999. Challenging this action of the Institute, the appellant filed Suit No. 264/1999 for decree of declaration and recovery of damages with the following prayers :- "(i) Decree of declaration thereby declaring the letter dated May 3rd 1999 issued by the defendants to be null and void ab initio. (ii) Decree of declaration that the plaintiff was wrongfully dismissed from services and that the service of the plaintiff is continuous. (iii) Decree for Rs. 4,14,602/- (Rupees four lakhs fourteen thousand six hundred and two only) being the damages for illegally terminating the contract of the plaintiff which is equivalent to the salary, which the plaintiff would have been entitled to had the defendants not illegally terminated the contract out of their whims and fancies. Further award to the plaintiff and pass a decree for all the other and ancillary benefits, which the plaintiff would have been entitled to, had the plaintiff continued in service as per contract. (iv) Pass any further order, which has not been specifically asked for in the body of the plaint and which this Hon'ble Court deems it fit and proper to pass in the circumstances in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendants."
(2.) The main contention of the appellant was that when the age of retirement, insofar as the appellant is concerned, was specifically mentioned as 58 years, her services could not be terminated before she attained the age of 58 years. To put it differently, her case was that even if the age of retirement is reduced by the Governing Body whereby amending the rules and regulations of the Institute are amended to that effect, the appellant, who was already in service, would not be governed by the said modification and in her case, the age of superannuation should remain as 58 years. The Institute as well as Executive Directors, who are impleaded as the defendant Nos. 2 and 3, contested the said suit by filing the written statement. Their submission was that the appellant was governed by the service conditions of the Institute wherein the Governing Body had the right to reduce the age of retirement and in such eventuality, when the age of retirement is reduced from 58 years to 55 years, the appellant was also bound by the same. Following issues were framed by the learned trial Court on the basis of the pleadings :- 1. Whether the relief claimed in the suit is barred by provisions of Specific Relief Act, OPD. 2. Whether the plaintiff is entitled to the relief claimed ? OPP
(3.) Whether the plaintiff is entitled to the interest "If so, at what rate, on what amount and for what period" OPP;

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