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Report No. 232

Retirement age of Chairpersons and Members of Tribunal - Need for Uniformity

I. Introduction

1.1 There is a general trend to provide for enhanced age of retirement of Chairpersons and Members of various Tribunals constituted by the Government in the country and also of the employees in various spheres e.g. Universities and government undertakings etc. vis-à-vis the normal age of retirement of judges and government servants.

It is noticed that the longevity or life expectancy of our citizens1 is now nearly comparable to that in the developed countries and, therefore, fresh proposals on the subject generally envisage enhanced age of retirement but in the absence of clear-cut guidelines for prescribing retirement age of Chairpersons or Members of various Tribunals in the country, different Ministries of the Government adopt different yardsticks.

1. According to the "2006 World Population Data Sheet", life expectancy of ns reached to 63 years which was about 50 years three decades ago. There are now available better health care facilities and health standards of our citizens have improved.

1.2 It needs no mention that enhanced age of retirement is prescribed in the higher echelons of the administrative and judicial services because the professional experience gained by those working in them needs to be fully tapped for the good of the society. It may be pointed out that the Government incurs a lot of expenditure on orientation-training of its employees, especially, at the senior level, and, therefore, their enriched professional experience in running the affairs of the government could be utilized for the good of the common man.

In the present liberalized economic era, the experience gained by government employees after their retirement is being fruitfully tapped by many multinational companies. These private enterprises pay hefty salaries to the retired government employees because their valuable professional experience gained during their service in the government is put to profitable use. In such a scenario, the government should utilize the services of their retired employees to the fullest extent possible.

1.3 The practice being followed in fixing the age of retirement of Chairpersons and Members of various Tribunals functioning in the country reveals that there exists no rationale in fixing different retirement age-limits. A chart indicating the names of the Tribunals, the Acts under which they have been established, eligibility criteria adopted for appointment of their Chairpersons and Members, their tenures and the different ages of their retirement, has been prepared which is at Appendix. It may be seen that there is neither any uniformity in the age of retirement, nor any cogent reasons have been given in the respective Acts justifying the criteria adopted for the purpose.

1.4 The question of increasing the retirement age of Judges of the higher judiciary i.e. High Court and Supreme Court Judges from 62 to 65 and from 65 to 70 years, respectively, has also been a matter of serious discussion/consideration at different levels of the Government. Retirement age in many government departments/disciplines, particularly, educational and scientific/research institutions, has already been increased.

1.5 A High Court Judge is normally considered for appointment as a Member of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on his retirement at the age of 62. After the amendment of the Administrative Tribunals Act 1985 by Act 1 of 2007, a retired High Court Judge if appointed as Chairman of CAT he can hold office as such till the age of 68 years, but 9if appointed as its Judicial Member then he holds office until attaining the age of 65 years.

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