The Bombay High Court while deciding a case has held that in relation to the law relating to public employment, almost every aspect thereof is governed mostly by the statutory rules, and unless there is a rule permitting relaxation of age, the same cannot be permitted.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Abhay Ahuja and Justice M.M. Sathaye observed, “It is settled that service law is rule based. The relationship between the employer and the employee in a public service and the terms and conditions governing such relationship are generally contained in statutory provisions or Rules. It is fundamental that in relation to law relating to public employment, almost every aspect thereof is governed mostly by statutory rules and unless there is a rule permitting relaxation of age etc., the same cannot be permitted.”

The Bench noted that the Rules of 1986 of the State of Maharashtra which regulate the upper age limit for recruitment by nomination in the Class I to Class IV posts in Maharashtra Civil Services do not mention any age relaxation to be provided to government servants.

Advocate Vijay Nagrani appeared for the petitioner while AGP P.G. Sawant appeared for the State.

Facts -

The petitioner was seeking to quash and set aside interim order dated passed by the Maharashtra Administrative Tribunal (MAT) whereby it rejected the petitioner’s interim application for age relaxation to participate in the selection process by nomination to a higher post by appearing in the examination which is going to be held on June 4, 2023. The petitioner was working as a Food Safety Officer whose age was at present 39 years, and in order to appear for the Combined Civil Services Preliminary Examination 2023 conducted by the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) he was seeking age relaxation based on Bombay Civil Services, Classification and Recruitment Rules, 1939 (1939 Rules).

The petitioner placed reliance on the Government Circular and the decision of the High Court in the case of Anil Motilal Nimbhure v. State of Maharashtra and Others (Writ Petition No.6179 of 2007) to submit that the said 1939 Rules though framed prior to independence and before framing of the Constitution of India and despite the provision of Article 395 of the Constitution are holding the field. It was further contended that the petitioner being a government servant was entitled to upper age relaxation pursuant to the 1939 Rules, and therefore, even though he crossed the age limit for the general category of 38 years, being 39 years of age, in view of the fact that the said Rules are still holding the field, he was entitled to appear for the examination, which is going to be held on June 4, 2023.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel observed, “None of the applicable Rules above provide for any age relaxation in respect of this post for general candidates. Even the Recruitment Rules dated 8th August 2002 which provide for recruitment for the post of Assistant Commissioner, (Food)-cum-Designated Officer, (Group A) framed in exercise of powers conferred by the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India in supersession of all the existing rules, orders or instructions issued earlier, as held by the Tribunal to be applicable to the case of the Petitioner, do not permit the relaxation of age limit beyond the period of 38 years.”

The Court said that no case was made out by the petitioner to persuade it to take any other view and therefore, it refused to interfere in the order passed by the Tribunal.

Accordingly, the Court dismissed the plea.

Cause Title- Raju Dhondiram Akrupe v. The State of Maharashtra & Ors. (Neutral Citation: 2023:BHC-AS:14471-DB)

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