The Supreme Court in the matter of state of Tripura and others v/s Rina Puriyakashta & Anr set aside the order of the Tripura High Court which directed the state to raise the minimum age of retirement of Anganwadi workers from 60 to 65 years.
The Tripura High Court had observed that with the central government funding 90% of the integrated child development scheme under which such workers are employed the state government will not be affected much financially by the move and the raised retirement age would delay the need for replacements.
The state government approached the Supreme Court against the order by filing an appeal and the Supreme Court appointed an amicus curiae named Nitin Rai to assist the court.
Submission of the Amicus Curiae-
The amicus curiae pointed out that even if the retirement age is increased to 65 years the state would only have to bear an additional outlay of rupees 23.7 crores, he said that the parity in employment is a reasonable expectation when similarly situated Anganwadi workers are getting retired at the age of 65 years in a number of states in the country therefore reasonable expectations of the similarly situated Anganwadi workers in Tripura cannot be denied.
The Supreme Court observed-
The arguments of the amicus curiae were not accepted by the Supreme Court as it noted that there was no statutory provision to provide for a uniform retirement age.
The court observed that 0by enhancing the age of retirement the need for substituting the vacancy will be delayed is not logical and therefore it does not give a legal ground to force the state government to alter its policy and thus it does not provide any basis for issuing a mandamus to the state government to change its policy when the policy not suffering from any illegality or irrationality.
The court said that it is clear that even while certain expectations have been laid by the central government the existing norms do not provide a uniform age limit for the retirement of the said workers and it is for the state government to decide regarding the service conditions including the age of discharge.
The proportion of the share of central government and finances hardly decides the matter.
Thus in light of the above observations the court allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the High Court while clarifying that the payments which are already paid to workers by the High Court’s order are not to be taken back and the workers neither will be removed from service.