D.S. Nakara & Others v. Union of India

DATE OF JUDGMENT: 17/12/1982

COURT: Supreme Court of India

JUDGES: Chandrachud, D.Y. ((Cj), Tulzapurkar, V.D., Desai, D.A., Reddy, O. Chinnappa (J), Islam, Baharul (J)

REFERENCE: 1983 AIR 130

PARTIES

Petitioner: D.S. Nakara & Others

Respondent: Union of India

SUBJECT: The judgment revolves around the question of whether date of retirement can be a valid ground to decide the amount of pension?

FACTS: The petitioner in the instant case challenged the validity of Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972 and Regulations governing pension for armed forces personnel under Article 32 of the Constitution. The said rules distinguish the pensioners into two categories as those retiring before 31.3.1979 and those retiring after 31.03.1979. The classification brought about a difference in the amount of pension paid to the armed forces personnel’s who did the same work.

IMPORTANT PROVISIONS

The Indian Constitution

  • Article 14: The State shall not deny to any person equality before the law or the equal protection of the laws within the territory of India.
  • Article 32: Remedies for enforcement of rights conferred by Part III
  • The right to move the Supreme Court by appropriate proceedings for the enforcement of the rights conferred by this Part is guaranteed
  • The Supreme Court shall have power to issue directions or orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, whichever may be appropriate, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III.
ISSUES:
  1. Whether the said classification is valid under Article 14 of the Constitution?
ANALYSIS OF THE JUDGEMENT:

The petitioners in the instant case contended that,

  • All the pensioners irrespective of their retirement date performed same work and belong to the same class.
  • A classification made on the basis of retirement date does not constitute a valid intelligible differentia under Article 14 of the Constitution.

However, the respondents contended that,

  • The date mentioned in the rules stands valid as it is specified to liberalise the pension scheme.
  • Further removal of the date by applying the doctrine of severability is beyond the powers of the Court. Removal of the date by the judiciary will change the entire purpose of the legislation for which it was enacted. It will also amount to intrusion into the independency of the legislature.

Upon hearing the parties to the case, the Court held that, a classification made under Article 14 must withstand the test of reasonability. It must have the presence of intelligible differentia which has a rational nexus with the object sought to be achieved by the legislation in question. In the present case the classification found on the basis of retirement date is manifestly arbitrary as all the pensioners together constitute a class in which a further classification is not possible. Therefore, all the pensioners are entitled to receive same amount of pension without any discrimination. Hence the Rule stands unconstitutional and is liable to be struck down.

CONCLUSION: Article 14 of the Indian Constitution guarantees equality among equals. Classifying a group of pensioners who did the same work on basis of retirement date is pure discrimination under Article 14. Hence the Rules were rightly struck down in the present case.

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