SC upholds UP Govt decision denying voluntary retirement to government doctors
The Supreme Court recently held that denial of voluntary retirement is permissible under the rules applicable in the State of Uttar Pradesh when services are required. It also stated that, "...In case all the doctors are permitted to retire, in that situation, there would be a chaos and no doctor would be left in the Government hospitals, which would be against the concept of the welfare state and injurious to public interest..."
A few doctors filed an application seeking voluntary retirement. The high court had allowed their writ petitions and treated the doctors to have retired voluntarily on the dates specified. The state moved to Supreme Court against the order.
The issue (in State of UP vs. Achal Singh) before the Supreme Court bench, while considering an appeal against the Allahabad High court judgment, was whether under the Uttar Pradesh Fundamental Rules as amended, an employee has unfettered right to seek voluntary retirement by serving a notice of three months to the state government or whether the state government is authorised to decline the prayer for voluntary retirement in the public interest.
Before the apex court, the state contended that there is a scarcity of doctors in the Provincial Health Services in the State of Uttar Pradesh, thus, the state government has not accepted the applications for voluntary retirement.
- The court observed that the right to retire cannot be supreme than the right to life.
- It also stated that, “...In India, the Government sponsored Medical Services to cater to the needs of poorest of the poor and have-nots otherwise there is the commercialisation of the charitable medical profession. In other States too, it is seen sometime that when a doctor is transferred from one place to another, the doctor forwards application resigning from the post or seeks voluntary retirement as he does not want to move out and leave his lucrative private practice and joins the duty only when he obtains posting back to the place of his choice. In such a scenario people cannot be deprived of the services of good doctors. In view of the scarcity of the doctors and the unfortunate privatisation and commercialisation of the noble medical profession, for maintaining the efficiency of the State Medical Services, the decision taken by the Government is permissible as per rules and cannot be interfered with...”
- Setting aside the high court judgment, the bench observed: “...The Government may fill the vacancies if any. But that would not bring doctors of experience at senior level and exodus of doctors cannot be permitted to weaken the services when the public interest requires to serve for the sake of efficient medical profession and fulfil Directive Principles of State Policy once they found statutory expression in the rules cannot be made mockery. When services are required, denial of voluntary retirement is permissible under the Rules applicable in the State of Uttar Pradesh...”
According to the Rule 56 of Fundamental Rules as amended in the State of Uttar Pradesh it is clear that an employee can be retired by the Government after he attains the age of 50 years or Government servant may voluntarily retire at any time after attaining the age of 45 years or after he has completed qualifying service of 20 years under Rule 56(c).
Read the complete judgement in the PDF attached below!