Indrajit Mahanty, J. - (1.)Heard Mr. Bidyut Majumder, learned Asstt. S. G., appearing on behalf of Union of India. Also heard Mr. Raju Datta, learned counsel appearing for private respondents as well as Mr. D Sharma, learned Additional Government Advocate representing the State-respondents.
In the present appeal, challenge has been made to the following directions passed by the Hon'ble Single Judge which read as follows :

"9. The State government has not accepted the upper age limit of discharge as suggested by the said memorandum dtd. 22/10/2012 issued by the Ministry of Women and Child Development. After the stock-taking exercise, the Union of India in the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare and Child Development Department, by virtue of the said memorandum dtd. 22/10/2012 has observed that AWWs/AWHs will be disengaged on completion of 65 years of age. Since some of the state governments have not accepted the maximum age of 65 years, the central government shall take a uniform policy decision and it is expected that such change should be brought about by prescribing a uniform age of 65 years in all states and UTs. Since, the State government has taken a decision that the age of discharging for AWWs/AWHs has been decided to be on completion of the age of 60 years, most of the states have accepted the age of 65 years. It would be appropriate that the Central government in the Ministry of Women and Child Development to adopt a uniform policy in terms of the clause (e) of the communication dtd. 22/10/2012 (Annexure-1 to the reply filed by the respondents). Such uniform policy in respect of age of relieving or disengagement of AWWs/AWHs shall be taken by the Central government within a period of four months from the date when they would receive a copy of this order from the petitioners. Till then, if the petitioner has crossed the age of 60 years be allowed to continue."

While challenging the aforesaid direction of the Hon'ble Single Judge for framing a common policy within four months learned Astt. S. G. submits that the Union of India had communicated their policy in their communication dtd. 22/10/2012 (under Annexure - 1 to the reply filed by the respondents). Consequently, there is no necessity of passing any direction for further policy decision in the matter.

(2.)It is important to take note herein that a batch of cases [WP(C) No.886/2019 and connected petitions] were filed by persons who were working as Angwadi Workers in the State of Tripura relying upon the communication dtd. 22/10/2012 issued by Government of India, Ministry of Women and Child Department wherein the department had annexed detailed guidelines for implementation of the age of retirement which reads as under :
"(e) Relieving AWWs/AWHs on completion of 65 years of age. The existing guidelines do not provide uniform age limit for their retirement. Rather, this has been left to the State Governments to decide. Thus, as on date no age has been prescribed for dispensing with the services of AWW/AWH. Prescribing maximum age limit of 65 years for an AWW/AWH has been supported by most of the State Governments at various forums. In view of the above, a uniform policy decision would be undertaken to discontinue the services of AWW/AWH at the age of 65 years and EPC would ensure its implementation in all the States/UTs."

(3.)This batch of cases, out of which the present appeal is one such case, came to be considered by a Division Bench of this Court [in WA No.173/2021 and other connected appeals in case of State of Tripura v. Smt. Rina Purkayastha and Ors.] by an order dtd. 29/6/2021 filed by the State of Tripura itself. The said appeal came to be dismissed by the Division Bench inter alia holding that since 90% of the funding comes from the Government of India Revenue and the State contributes barely 10% of the expenditure, in such back ground when the Government of India Policy specifically formulated for such purpose provided that all State Governments must formulate the uniform policy of age of retirement which pegs the age of retirement at 65 years, we find no reason why the Government of Tripura, should have taken a different view.

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.