Classification Between Ayurvedic And Allopathic Doctors In Fixing Age Of Superannuation Is Arbitrary Says Rajasthan High Court

According to the Division Bench of Shubha Mehta and Manindra Mohan Shrivastava, the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue at hand leaves no scope for ambiguity in the matter

Over the years, the difference in age for Superannuation for Ayurvedic doctors vis-a-vis Allopathic doctors has become a subject of legal dispute. While the Supreme Court, in its verdict in August 2021, made it clear that there can be no discrimination between Allopathic and Ayurvedic doctors concerning the age of retirement, employers in states have often used the age parameter to discriminate in terms of pay and superannuation benefits. 

Whether providing different ages of superannuation for Allopathic Doctors vis-a-vis Ayurvedic Doctors is discriminative to Article 14 of the Constitution of India? While hearing a clutch of petitions, the Rajasthan High Court held that the practice is arbitrary and unreasonable.

Facts of the case

The age of superannuation of Allopathic Doctors was enhanced from 60 to 62 years w.e.f. 31.03.2016 through a gazetted notification. 

While some of the petitioners are still working, some of the petitioners have retired after attaining the age of 60 years and after the issuance of notification said notification. This had a direct bearing on the incidental service benefits the retired employees would have received had they continued in service.

Classification on the basis of age arbitrary: Petitioners

Relying on the Supreme Court’s decision in North Delhi Municipal Corporation Vs. Dr. Ram Naresh Sharma & Ors, the learned Counsel for the petitioner stated that there could be no discrimination between the Ayurvedic and Allopathic doctors with regard to fixing age of superannuation. 

Calling the classification based on age, unreasonable, the petitioners reiterated the Supreme Court's view that doctors under both segments perform the same function of treating and healing their patients.

Area and extent of Ayurvedic practice not as extensive: Respondents

On the other hand, Counsel for the state argued that the area and extent of the practice of Ayurvedic doctors is not as extensive as Allopathic doctors. According to him, the kind of expertise, which is used by Allopathic Doctors to treat a variety of diseases, including surgical operations, distinguishes them from the Ayurvedic Doctors. 

Calling the classification valid, he also pointed out that both the category of doctors have been recruited under different recruitment rules with differential pay.

Supreme Court’s clear verdict leaves no scope of argument for fixing age of superannuation: Rajasthan HC

Reiterating the views of the Supreme Court in NDMC Vs Dr Ram Naresh Sharma, the Rajasthan High Court sided with the petitioners. 

According to the Division Bench of Shubha Mehta and Manindra Mohan Shrivastava, the Supreme Court’s decision on the issue at hand leaves no scope for ambiguity in the matter. The Court made it clear that the respondents have erred in their action of fixing different age of superannuation of Ayurvedic Doctors and Allopathic doctors.

“It has to be consequently held that they are also entitled to continue in service till completion of the age of 62 years, which is applicable in the case of Allopathic Doctors, the court said.

“All those petitioners, who have so retired after 31.03.2016, shall be deemed to have continued in service up to 62 years. This will require the respondents' authority to pass necessary orders treating them in service till attaining the age of 62 years in individual cases with consequential benefits of continuity of service”, it added. 

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