S.B. Sinha, J.
1. Whether an agreement despite expiry would prevail over a regulation made under Section 79(c) of the Electricity (Supply) Act, 1948 (for short 'the Act') as regard the age of superannuation of an employee of the Respondent-Board is the primal question involved in this appeal which arises out of a judgment and order dated 11.9.2001 passed by the High Court of Judicature of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur in L.P.A. No. 34 of 2001.
2. The appellant is a registered Union of the employees of the Madhya Pradesh State Electricity Board (for short 'the Board'). The erstwhile Electricity Board framed regulations in the year 1952 under Section 79(c) of the Act known as General Service Conditions of Board Servants. In the year 1957, the respondent-Board came into existence on re-organisation of the State.
3. The State of Madhya Pradesh enacted the Madhya Pradesh Industrial Relations Act, 1960 (for short 'the 1960 Act') with a view to regulate the relations of employers and employees in certain matters, to make provisions for settlement of industrial disputes and to provide for matters connected therewith. In the year 1961, the State of Madhya Pradesh also enacted Madhya Pradesh Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1961 (for short 'the 1961 Act') to provide for rules defining with sufficient precision of certain matters relating to the conditions of employment of employees in the State of Madhya Pradesh. The Schedule appended to the 1961 Act provided for the standard standing orders and item No. XV thereof relates to 'age of retirement'.
4. On or about 19.10.1963, the Board purported to have adopted fundamental rules, supplementary rules and other service conditions as in force in Madhya Pradesh Civil Services (Temporary Service) Rules, Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules. The said rules, however, had no application as regard work-charged employees. On or about 16.9.1976 by a notification issued under Section 79(c) of the Act, the Board adopted Madhya Pradesh Shasakiya Sevak (Adhivarshiki Ayu) Sanshodhan Adhiniyam, 1972 relating to the retirement age of government employees under FR 56(3) prescribing 58 years as the age of superannuation. It is not in dispute that the parties hereto entered into an agreement on or about 10.6.1996 whereby and whereunder the age of superannuation of the employees was made at par with the employees of the Central Government as other fringe benefits were to be the same as might be accepted by the Central Government while enforcing the Report of the Fifth Pay Commission. The Central Government while accepting the recommendations of the Fifth Pay Commission fixed 60 years as the age of superannuation of its employees. In the said agreement, it was stipulated:
'(S) It has been further agreed that the following fringe benefits shall be regulated as per Vth Pay Commission Report after its adoption by Central Government.
***9. Age of retirement.'
5. The said agreement was registered in terms of section 33 of the 1960 Act. The Board thereafter issued a notification dated 22.5.1998 adopting the notification issued by the Central Government dated 13.5.1998 as a result whereof the age of retirement of the officers and employees of the respondent Board was enhanced to 60 years. The said order came into force with effect from 13.5.1998. By reason of the impugned notification dated 26.12.2000, the Board reduced the age of superannuation of its employees, except class IV employees, to 58 years. Questioning the said notification, the appellant herein filed a writ petition before the High Court of Judicature of Madhya Pradesh at Jabalpur which was marked as Writ Petition No. 7255 of 2000. The said writ petition was dismissed by a learned Single Judge of the High Court where against the appellant herein preferred a Letters Patent Appeal marked as Letters Patents Appeal No. 34 of 2001. By reason of the impugned judgment dated 11.9.2001, the Division Bench dismissed the said appeal.