Dwarka Prasad Gupta, Actg. C.J.
1. The Petitioner entered the railway service as a clerk on June 10, 1941 in the office of the Chief Traffiic Manager of the erstwhile Jodhpur State Railway. On integration of the railway system he was continued to be employed as a clerk in the Northern Railway and was subsequently promoted as a Head clerk. By an order issued on September 20, 1977 the railway authorities informed the petitioner that he would retire from railway service with effect from June 1, 1974 on attaining the age of 58 years, in terms of Rule 2046 (b) of the Railway Establishment Code, Volume II.
2. The petitioner has challenged the validity of Rule 2046 (b) of the Railway Establishment Code, Volume II on the ground that it was discriminatory and was violative of the guarantee of equality enshrined in Articles 14, and 16 of the Constitution, as it makes an unreasonable classification between ministerial servants of the railway appointed there after. Learned Counsel placed reliance upon the decision of their Lordships of the Supreme Court in the case of Railway Board and Anr. V. A. Pitchumani : (1972)ILLJ112SC . In Pitchumani's case (supra), their Lordships of the Supreme Court had struck down the note appended to Rule 2046 (2) 1972 Lab. & Ind Cases 1462 (a), wherein a distinction was made between employees of ex-State Railways and other railway employees. Ex-State Railway employees were excluded from the benefit of Rule 2046 (2) (a) and even though they might have entered into the service of ex-State Railways before April 1, 1938, they were treated as if they had entered into railway service on or after April 1,1950. Their Lordships observed that once a railway employee came under a particular category of service under Indian Railways then the rule must be applied uniformly to all members of the Indian Railways service and no distinction could be made on the basis of the source from which they came. Their Lordships observed that the object of Rule 2046 was to provide for the age of retirement of two types of employees coming under clauses (a) and (b) thereof and there was no indication that any further distinction inter-se could be made amongst the employees mentioned in clause (a) or clause (b), when a uniform age of retirement has been fixed in respect of the employees coming under each one of the aforesaid two clauses. Classification carving out employees of the Ex-State Railways from other Railway employees was struck down as it had no nexus or relation to the object of Rule 2046. Their Lordships in that case recognised the fact that there was a distinction between ministerial railway servants who entered into railway service on or before March 31, 1938 and these were employed on or after April 1, 1938 and, it was observed as under:
The distinction made in Clause (b) regarding the ministerial railway servants who entered government service on or before March 31 1938 is again of uniform application. That rule only makes a broad distinction between the ministerial railway servants who entered government service on or before March 31, 1938 and who entered government service after that date.
3. The question which has been raised in the present writ petition is precisely governed by the decisions of the Allahabad High Court in Binda Lal v. The Union of India and Ors. 1972 Lab and Ind Cases 1462, and Mahindra Chandra Sen v. Union of India and Ors. : AIR1973Cal385 In Bindalal's case the earlier Allahabad decision in case of B.R. Mishra v. Union of India : (1971)ILLJ115All , which was relied upon by the learned Counsel for the petitioner was distinguished and it was held by a division bench of the Allahabad High Court that the respondents had successfully shown that the railway employees who were taken in employment upto March 31, 1938 and were given the benefit of retirement at the age of 60 years formed a separate class, while the retirement age was kept as 55 years which was later on raised to 58 years in respect of employees who entered Railway service after the said date. The historical background on the basis of which the aforesaid distinct on has been made between pre-April 1, 1938 and Post April 1, 1938 entrants has been explained in detail in Binadlal's case. It has been mentioned therein that a committee on the problem of unemployment, known as the Sarpru Committee, recommended that the rule regarding the age of retirement should be altered so as to give a fair chance of employment to younger men. The Government accepted the principal recommendations made in the Sapru Committee's report but the view taken that in the case of employees who had entered into service earlier, there should be no reduction in age of compulsory retirement, so far as the ministerial staff was concerned. These recommendations were considered in March 1938 by the Government of India and that is why April 1, 1938 has been fixed as the dividing line for purposes of fixing the age of retirement of ministerial employees Thus there is a rational basis for the distinction made and the same has been in existence since 1938.
4. In Maindra Chandra Sen's case (supra) their Lordships of the Calcutta High Court also recognised the distinction pointed out in Bindalal's case (supra) by their Lordships of the Allahabad High Court. The history of the rule relating to compulsory retirement has been traced in detail in para 4 of he judgment of their Lordships of the Calcutta High Court in Manindra Chandrs Sen's case (supra), where the following observations have been made;
It is apparent, therefore, that the objects were when the rule was introduced to create more employment and for that purpose to treat those who had entered railway service before March, 1938 and had certain substantial rights to those posts differently from those who had entered subsequently. The reason was that it was more or less in 1938 that the rule was adopted and it was considered desirable not to adversely affect those who had some kind of right to those posts at the time of first introduction. It is apparent, therefore, that with the object of creating more jobs and employment since 1949 persons, who had been appointed prior to 1938 had certain substantial rights and those who had been appointed subsequent to March 1938, had been treated differently in the fundamental rules as well as in rule 2046 of the Railway Establishment Code. It is clear, therefore, that these two groups of persons formed separate classes and different ages from time to time have been laid down for their retirement. The said basis has a rational connection with the object sought to be intended to be achieved, that is to say, to create job and employment by introduction of a new system of retirement.
5. I am in complete agreement with the aforesaid observations made by their Lordships of the Calcutta High Court in Manindra Chandra Sen's case (supra). In fact I have also taken the same view in a case decided by me earlier. There appears to be no invalidity in the classification made between the persons, who entered the railway service prior to April 1, 1938 and those who entered the railway service after that date as the classification is based on a differentia which had a rational relationship with the object sought to be achieved. As the historical background on which the distinction is based has been dealt with fully in the Allahabad and Calcutta cases referred to above, I do tot consider it necessary to reiterate the same.
6. No other argument was advanced before me by the learned Counsel for the petitioner.
7. The writ petition has no force and is dismissed.