UNION OF INDIA Vs. L VENKATARAMAN
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: MADRAS)
UNION OF INDIA
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(1.)These appeals are by the Union of India and the General Manager of the Southern Railway challenging the decision of the Madras High court in a batch of Writ Petitions upholding the stand of the respondents that they were entitled to continue in. service till they reached the age of 60 and superannuating them at the age of 58 on the basis of the age of retirement fixed for normal railway employees was improper. They claimed other service benefits on the basis of retirement at the age of 60 and the High court has granted the same to them by accepting the position that they were either clerks or ministerial employees.
(2.)Learned Additional Solicitor General submit that two questions arise in the appeals namely, that the benefit under the government order was available even if lien was not held against a permanent post and that the respondents were not clerks and/or ministerial servants so as to be entitled to the benefit of the government order fixing the age of retirement of 60. The first aspect is covered two decisions of this court against the appellant see General Manager, Southern Railway, Madras, 1976 (3) SCR 1085 and the judgment in Civil appeals 1110, 1112 and 1114 of 1978 dated 1/9/1986). He however, contends that some of the respondents do not answer the classification of clerks of ministerial employees and were, therefore, not covered by the Railway Boards decision. It may be that some of the respondents did not strictly come within the classification but the High court has found them to be covered and the conclusion is one of fact. At the belated stage when the respondents have worked up to the age of 60 and superannuated more than a decade ago we are not inclined to entertain the challenge. We should proceed on the footing that the finding recorded by the High court is one of the fact and not open to challenge.
(3.)It is pointed out to us that 7 persons of the same categories here were permitted to intervene while it is not appropriate to us to extend the relief to them outright. We think it appropriate that Railway Administration should examine their case and if they are satisfied that their claim is well founded, such relief as would be appropriate should be extended. Retirement benefits available to the respondents shall be awarded on the basis of our conforming Judgments, within six months.
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