In a bonanza for all central paramilitary forces, the Centre on Monday issued an order fixing a uniform retirement age of 60 years for all ranks.
The order, which will also have implications for thousands of officers, will be effective with immediate effect for the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) and Assam Rifles.
It follows a Delhi High Court’s January end judgment in which it struck down rules that prescribed different retirement ages for different ranks and directed the Central government to fix a uniform age of superannuation for all ranks.
At present, the retirement age of officers of the rank of commandant and below in Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), or paramilitary forces, is fixed at 57 years while officers of the rank of Deputy Inspector General and above retire on attaining the age of 60.
The retirement age for all officers in the Assam Rifles and the CISF, which are part of CAPFs, is already 60 years.
Those who have got an interim stay between the date of High Court judgment and date of Home Ministry’s order will be deemed to have not superannuated and will be governed by age of retirement at 60 years, the order said.
“Those who have retired but did not approach any court will be governed by the court order dated February 4, 2019 clarifying para 72 of original order dated January 31, 2019 in (ITBP Deputy Commandant) Dev Sharma case (supra) and hence will be entitled to exercise options either for joining after returning all pensionary benefits, if received or will have an option to have benefit of fitment of pension on completion of age of 60 years.”
As per the order, all forces are directed to comply with the court orders.
It said that forces may amend provisions of rules as applicable on line of the court’s January 31 order and also to decide the date from which such change will be effected.
The Delhi High Court, however, did not allow stay retirement of any personnel as per the existing age of retirement who might have retired before passing the order except that in the event of enhancement of retirement age, the differential period will be added to the period of service actually rendered for the purpose of pension.
Disposing of a bunch of petitions, a division bench of Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Sanjeev Narula had directed the Ministry of Home Affairs to take all consequential steps within four months to take a decision on the retirement age.
Although 29 officers from the ITBP, BSF and CRPF had filed petitions challenging the rules, the bench directed that its orders will be implemented across the board for all members of the CAPFs without the respondents insisting on each of them approaching the court for identical relief.
Incidentally, retirement ages are different for different ranks as well as for various branches in the defence forces.