Madras High Court imposes ₹5k costs, 2-year ban on filing PILs for "absurd" challenge to retirement age policy

The petitioner had raised concern that unemployment is on the rise and that increasing the retirement age would be detrimental to those who are seeking government jobs.
Madras High Court imposes ₹5k costs, 2-year ban on filing PILs for "absurd" challenge to retirement age policy
Madras High Court

The Madras High Court on Wednesday imposed costs of ₹5,000 on a petitioner who had challenged the State government's February 2021 decision to increase the retirement age for government officials to 60 years from the earlier 59 years. (R Balamuralidharan v. Union of India and ors)

Additionally, the Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice PD Audikesavalu also barred the petitioner from filing any public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the Madras High Court for two years without obtaining the previous permission of the Court concerned.

The petitioner had raised concern that unemployment is on the rise and that increasing the retirement age would be detrimental to those who are seeking government jobs.

The Court, however, declined to entertain the plea, noting that it was misconceived, absurd and filed "only for publicity purposes." The Court further opined that the petition was bare-bodied and bereft of any details or material.

The Bench went on to reiterate that the Court would be slow to interfere in matters of policy since that is the prerogative of the government. It was also noted that another Bench of the High Court had recently dismissed a similar challenge in July this year while observing that it is a matter of government policy.

As such, the Court proceeded to impose costs of ₹5,000 to be paid within two weeks to the Tamil Nadu Legal Services Authority (TNSLA) for making a spectacle of the matter.

"Additionally, the petitioner will not be entitled to bring any public interest litigation in this Court for a period of two years without obtaining previous express leave of the court in such regard," the Court added.

With these, among other, observations, the petition was dismissed.

Corrigendum: The article has been revised to reflect that the final order uploaded by the High Court this evening states that ₹ 5,000 was imposed as costs, and not ₹ 10,000 as earlier reported.

[Read Order]

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