B. SARASWATHI AMMA Vs. COMPTROLLER AND AUDITOR
HIGH COURT OF KERALA
B. Saraswathi Amma
Comptroller And Auditor
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V.P. Gopalan Nambiyar, J. -
(1.) The petitioner was working as a Stenographer in the accountant-General's Office, Trivandrum. According to rule 56;'a) of the Fundamental Rules, the normal age of retirement of the Government Servants is fixed at 58 years. According to sub-clause (b) of the said rule, the said normal age of retirement might, in appropriate cases, be extended so as not to go beyond 60 years of age, except in very special circumstances. According to sub-rule (j) of the same rule, notwithstanding anything contained in the rule, the proper authority shall, if it is of the opinion, that it is in the public interest to do so, have the absolute right to retire any Government servant, after he has attained the age of 55 years, by giving him notice of not less than three months in writing. There is a proviso to the said sub-clause which may be left out of account as it has no application to the present case. By Ext. P-2, notice dated 8-6-1967, the petitioner was informed that in exercise of the powers conferred under Fundamental Rule 56, she was given three month's notice for retirement, and that on the expiry of the said period, she would retire from service. The petitioner's application for reconsideration was rejected by Ext. P-3, memo, dated 25-9-1967, and she was informed that she will retire from, service at the end of the notice period, i.e., 8-10-1967. (The discrepancy in regard to the actual time of retirement as between Exts. P-2 and P-3 seems to be inconsequential as it is admitted that the petitioner completed 55 years of age, on 8-10-1967, the date which is correctly shown in Ext. P-3).
(2.) The petitioner seeks to quash Exts. P-2 and P-3, on the ground that Ext. P-2 notice, is arbitrary and discloses no ground and no reason for the action taken against the petitioner, whereas, under Rule 56 (j) of the Fundamental Rules action could be taken only in public interest. In the counter-affidavit filed on behalf of the respondents it has been pointed out that the Departmental Promotion Committee consisting of the Accountant-General, Comptroller of Accounts, and Deputy Accountant-General met on 25-4-67 to consider the case of the petitioner with a view to ascertain her suitability to continue in service as required by the rules, and after an elaborate consideration came to the conclusion that it would not be proper in the public interest to retain her in service as her record of performance as a Stenographer was found to be poor. The petitioner was subjected to a performance-test in July 1967, and her performance at the test was also found to be extremely poor. Certain details have also been disclosed in paragraph 5 of the counter-affidavit where these matters have been set out. In the light of these averments made in the counter-affidavit, I entertain no doubt that action was taken against the petitioner under Rule 56(j) of the Fundamental Rules, and that the requirements of the rule have been satisfied. The omission to set out in Ext. P-2, notice, that her services have been terminated in public interest is not in my opinion material. Nor I am impressed by the contention advanced by the petitioner's counsel that the approach made as disclosed in paragraph 5 of the counter-affidavit was to assess the petitioner's suitability for being continued in service rather than to see whether public interest required that her services should be terminated. I perceive little difference. On the averments as a whole, it seems to me that the requirements of the rule have been complied with in letter as well as in spirit.
(3.) Although in the writ petition, the petitioner's counsel had a case that she was entitled to be continued till the attainment of 60 years of age, this aspect was not pressed at the hearing.;
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