The Supreme Court recently dismissed the appeal seeking directions for the enhancement of college teachers' retirement age in Kerala in accordance with the recommendation made under the University Grants Commission Regulations 2010.

The Bench of Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice JK Maheshwari upheld the Order of the Kerala High Court holding that the policy of the State Government, evidenced by the statutory provisions mandating teachers of aided affiliated colleges to retire at the age of 56 years, and that of the Universities at the age of 60 years, has been crystalized by enactments under Article 309 of the Constitution of India.

In this case, the Government of Kerala had adopted and implemented the UGC Regulations, 2010 whereby the State Government had accepted the enhancement of salary grant from the Central Government, but it did not enhance the retirement age of the teachers.

Aggrieved by the failure of the State of Kerala to enhance the retirement age, the Appellants filed a writ petition which came to be dismissed and later the writ appeal also came to be dismissed.

Therefore the appellants had approached the Supreme Court.

Counsel, Reshmi Rea Sinha, appearing on behalf of the Appellants had argued that the Pay Revision Commission appointed by the UGC, regarding the pay-scale of teachers, eligibility of appointment, service and working conditions and promotional avenues of teachers in Universities and Colleges recommended the age of superannuation throughout the country to be 65 years.

The Appellants relied upon the judgment and order passed by a Full Bench of the Kerala High Court in Dr. Radha Krishnan Pillai v. State of Kerala & Others, where it had held that irrespective of whether the Kerala University Act or the Mahatama Gandhi University Act were enacted under Entry 25 of List III of Seventh Schedule to the Constitution of India and irrespective of the fact that statutes framed thereunder had been amended in line with the UGC Regulations, the universities and affiliated colleges in the State of Kerala were bound to comply with the UGC Regulations in view of its adoption by the State of Kerala with effect from 18th September 2010.

Senior Advocate Jaideep Gupta, appearing on behalf of the State of Kerala had pointed out that the age of superannuation of academic and other staff in the institutions in the State of Kerala was governed by the Rules issued under Article 309 of the Constitution of India and such Rules could not be overridden by the Government Order.

Refuting the contentions of the Appellants, Counsel for State argued that Central Government had itself made it clear that the age of superannuation was not to be linked to the benefits conferred by the UGC Regulations.

The Court affirmed the stand of the Single bench and Division Bench of the Kerala High Court that the state government had the discretion to accept the scheme proposed under the UGC Regulations.

The Supreme Court reiterated its earlier view where it was held that the State was not bound to accept or follow the UGC Regulations.

The Court refused to interfere with the concurrent findings of the Division Bench and the Single Bench of the Kerala High Court of Kerala and accordingly dismissed the appeal.

Cause Title- Dr. J. Vijayan & Ors. v. The State Of Kerala & Ors.

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