UTTAR PRADESH COOPERATIVE SUGAR FACTORIES FEDERATION LIMITED Vs. P. P. GAUTAM
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: ALLAHABAD)
Uttar Pradesh Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation Limited
P. P. Gautam
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(1.)This appeal by the employer is directed against the impugned judgment of a learned Single Judge of the Allahabad High Court, which has been upheld in appeal by the Division Bench. The High Court in the impugned judgment has struck down the provisions contained in the second proviso to sub-regulation (1) of Regulation 21 of the U.P. Cooperative Sugar Factories Federation Limited Employees Services Regulations, 1988. The aforesaid sub-regulation (1) of Regulation 21 is quoted hereinbelow in extenso.
"An employee shall retire on attaining the age of 60 years:
Provided that an employee, who attains the age of superannuation on any day other than the first day of any calendar month shall retire on the last day of that month:
Provided further that the appointing authority may, at any time, by giving three months' notice or pay in lieu thereof, to any employee (whether temporary or permanent), without assigning any reason, require him to retire after he attains the age of fifty years or such employee may, by giving three months' notice to the appointing authority voluntarily retire at any time after attaining the age of forty-five years or after he has completed twenty years of service under the establishment of the Federation."
(2.)The High Court has come to the conclusion that the aforesaid proviso confers an unbridled power on the employer to require an employee to retire on his attaining the age of 55 years and conferment of such unbridled power is violative of Article 14 of the Constitution. It is no doubt true that the order of compulsory retirement is not penal in nature, and every employer has a right to require the employee to compulsorily retire in accordance with the relevant service regulation, provided the non-continuance of service of the employee is held to be in public interest. The impugned regulation, however, does not indicate that the power under the second proviso could be exercised in public interest. To our query as to whether the employer has issued any guidelines for the exercise of power under the second proviso, and has indicated that such power could be exercised only in public interest, the answer was in the negative. In the absence of any such guidelines, and in the absence of such provision in the proviso itself, the conclusion of the High Court that it confers an unbridled power and is violative of Article 14 is unassailable. In fact, a decision of this Court on somewhat similar provisions in Senior Supdt. of Post Offices v. Izhar Hussain, 1989 4 SCC 318 fully supports the conclusion of the High Court. We, therefore, do not find any merits in this appeal requiring our interference. The appeal accordingly fails and is dismissed.
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