HC QUASHES PUNJAB'S 1-YR EXTENSION IN SERVICE

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday overturned the Punjab gov- ernment orders granting one- year extension in service to employees due for retirement in 2010.

Terming the state govern- ment orders passed on January 27 as unsustainable, the Division Bench comprising Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Alok Singh noted: “This order will operate prospectively and will not affect the benefits already given under the instructions. It is also made clear that the state will be at liberty to pass fresh orders in accordance with the law.“

The directions came on a peti- tion filed by District Development and Panchayat Officer Kuldeep Singh, who, terming the government order as unconstitutional, had stated that grant of one-year exten- sion to his seniors with entitlement to promotion during the period would adversely affect his and others' chances for pro- motion on account of vacation of posts due to retirement.

The petitioner had further submitted that even in the case of a chief engineer in the PWD or Irrigation Department, the provision for extension in service was only for three months.He cited service rules to assert that the retirement age was 58, after which an employee could not be retained in service, except in exceptional circumstances and with sanction from the com- petent authority.

Observing the retirement age of an employee, other than a Class IV worker, was 58 years, the Bench held: “Perusal of the instructions does not show exceptional circumstances and the instructions, instead of being exceptional, are general and operate to modify or annul the rule. The instructions cannot be allowed... contrary to the rule... and are quashed.“

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