Somnath Iyer, J.
(1) The Petitioner is the Bangalore Central Co-operative Bank which is a Co-operative Society registered under the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act, 1918. Respondent 3 was appointed as a clerk in that society on February 18, 1948 There was no provision in the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act, 1918 for superannuation, and, for the first time a provision was made in that regard by the 50th rule of the rules made under the Mysore Co-operative Societies Act, 1948 entitled the Mysore Co-operative Societies Rules, 1952. That Rule reads:-
'50 Service Conditions of Employees of Co-Operative Societies:--* * * *
(6) Age of Retirement:--No employee shall ordinarily be continued in the service of the society if he has attained 60 years of age.'
(2) The clear meaning of this rule is that no employee could be retired from service until he attained 60 years of age, although power was reserved in the employer to continue his service even after the attainment of the age of superannuation.
(3) Mysore Co-operative Societies Act, 1948 was repealed by the Mysore Co-operative societies Act, 1959, and, rule 18(a)(2) of the rules made under the repealing Act incorporated a somewhat different provision for superannuation. That rule as it was printed by the Law Department of the Government of Mysore read:--
'18(a)(2):--Age of Retirement--The age of retirement of a person who is already in service, of any co-operative society, if his age at society shall be 55 years of age:Provided that, with the previous approval of the Registrar, a person after retirement, may be re-employed for a period not exceeding five years, if his services are specially required, in the interests of the society.'
(4) Since this rule was not printed correctly, through a correction slip issued on April 7, 1964 it was printed as hereunder:--
'18 (a)(2) Age of Retirement--The age of retirement of a person who is appointed to a permanent post in the service of a co-operative society shall be 55 years of age.Provided that with the previous approval of the Registrar, a person after retirement may be re-employed for a period not exceeding five years if his services are specially required, in the interests of the society.'
(5) In the belief that under this new rule the 3rd respondent could be retired on his attaining 55 years of age, the petitioner retired him from service with effect from April 4, 1963 through a resolution passed by the Board of Directors on April 3, 1963, although the Board also recommended his re-employment for a period of six months. Respondent 3 raised a dispute in regard to his retirement which according to him was not possible until he attained the age of 60 years under the 50th rule of the old rules. The arbitrator who heard that dispute pronounced against that contention. But in the appeal to the Revenue Appellate Tribunal he was able to have that decision of the arbitrator reversed and to secure a direction that he shall be continued in service till he attained the age of 60 years. And it is this decision of the Revenue Appellate Tribunal which is called in question by the petitioner-bank.
(6) Mr. Balagopal on behalf of the petitioner-bank contends that the age of superannuation fixed by the old rules stood altered by that prescribed by the new rule and that after the new rules were made in the year 1960 the retirement of respondent 3 was governed by the new rule and not by the old. So he submitted that when the third respondent attained the age of 55 years on September 18, 1961 he could be retired from service, and that the retirement which was made with effect from April 4, 1963 was open to very little criticism. It was also urged by Mr. Balagopal that even under the old rules no employee of a co-operative society had a right to continue in service until he attained 60 years of age, and that the power conferred by that rule was a power which resided in the society to continue the employee in service until he attained 60 years of age.
(7) There could be very little doubt that the interpretation placed upon the old rule is unacceptable. What that rule forbids is the continuance after the employee attained the age of 60 years, except in special cases. The clear and necessary implication of that provision is that the employee has a right to continue in service until he became 60 years of age. The question is whether the right was taken away by the new rule which was made in the year 1960. If it was applicable even to persons who were already in employment when the rule came into force, and, if it could be said that the power to make a rule with respect to superannuation under the new Act included the power to make a retrospective rule, it would of course be clear that the age of superannuation was reduced even in the case of persons who were already employment.
(8) The question whether the rule making authority like the Government which made the new rule has power to make a rule having such retrospective operation is not free from difficulty, and, we express no opinion on that matter since we can decide this case on the short ground that the new rule on which the Bank depended has no application to persons who were already in service when that rule commenced to operate, and for whose superannuation a clear provision was made by the old rule which the new rule did not supersede.
(9) The words 'who is appointed' occurring in the new rule support the construction that the new rule was intended to be applicable only to those who were already in service and who had acquired a right to continue in service until they attained the age of 60 years. The reasonableness of this construction becomes apparent from the correction slip issued in the year 1964. Through that correction slip it was explained that the new rule does not contain the words 'who is already in service' which found their way into it by the mistake of the printer. When it was correctly printed the words 'who is appointed' were substituted.
(10) So it becomes clear, both from the language of the rule and otherwise, that the new rule did not alter the age of superannuation of existing employees to whom it does not refer.
(11) The Revenue Appellate Tribunal was of the view that it should place a beneficent construction upon the provisions of the new rule, and we do not think that the interpretation placed by it upon its provisions is either unreasonable or is not supported by the ordinary meaning of the words which it contains.
(12) We therefore dismiss this writ petition, without making any order as to costs.
(13) Petition dismissed.