"High Court has trenched upon Executive Domain": Supreme Court sets said High Court order setting aside prospective implementation of UP's Policy on Age of Superannuation

  • Sakshi Shukla
  • 03:30 PM, 19 Jul 2021

Supreme Court in its judgment dated July 15 observed that date of implementation of a particular decision, application of increased age of superannuation in the present case, is a policy matter and the High Court ought not to have entered the same.

A Division Bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah, while allowing the appeals moved by Okhla Industrial Development Authority and the State of UP, said,

“The reasons which have weighed with the High Court are based on factually incorrect premises and are founded on a misunderstanding of the legal position.

Whether the age of superannuation should be enhanced is a matter of policy.

The infirmity in the judgment lies in the fact that the High Court has trenched upon the realm of policy making and has assumed to itself, jurisdiction over a matter which lies in the domain of the executive. Whether the age of superannuation should be increased and if so, the date from which this should be effected is a matter of policy into which the High Court ought not to have entered. Respondent-employees could not have claimed a vested right that the enhancement in the age of retirement should be made effective from the date on which NOIDA had resolved to submit a proposal for the approval of the government.”

Dismissing the contention on promissory estoppel as raised by the respondents, Court said - "For promissory estoppel to apply, one party must have made an unequivocal promise, intending to create or affect a legal relationship between the parties; the recommendation of NOIDA cannot create or alter the legal relationship since it is subject to the approval of the government."

Reliance was inter-alia placed on Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd. v. Union of India, (2012) 11 SCC 1, State of Jharkhand v. Brahmputra Metallics Ltd, CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3860-62 of 2020 and Dayanand Chakrawarthy.

On September 30, 2012, UP Government agreed to the proposal of the Appellant to enhance the age of retirement of its employees, from 58 to 60 years, prospectively, thereby amending necessary provisions.

A Division Bench of the Allahabad High Court set aside the decision of the State Government to give prospective effect.

The appeals filed before the Top court by New Okhla Industrial Development Authority and the State of UP, questioned the correctness of this decision.

Case Title: New Okhla Industrial Development Authority v. BD Singhal