New Delhi: Bringing a major relief to thousands of officers of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), the Delhi high court on Thursday has ordered Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to set the uniform retirement age for all ranks in central forces.

As per the existing position, the age of retirement in Assam Rifles (AR) and CISF is 60; while it is 57 in rest of the CAPFs- Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Border Security Force (BSF), Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) up to the rank of Commandants. Even the officers of the rank of Deputy Inspector General and above retire on attaining the age of 60 years.

Disposing of a bunch of petitions filed by officers from the ITBP, BSF and CRPF, a division bench comprising Justice S Muralidhar and Sanjeev Narula directed the MHA to take all measures within four months to take a decision on the retirement age which will uniform for all members of the CAPFs irrespective of their rank thus bringing all of them at par. They must also fix the date from which such changed retirement age will take effect.

The bench observed that the relevant rules prescribing a retirement age of 57 years for members of the rank of Commandant and below against 60 years for Deputy Inspector General and above were discriminatory and violate of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution.

Although 19 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.

Further, the judgment will also apply to members of other CAPFs like the Central Industrial Security Force and the Seema Shashtra Bal if they are identically placed as the petitioners.

Observing that most of the petitioners have since retired, the bench clarified that the judgment will not have the effect of reinstatement of the petitioners. In view of the principle of no work, no pay, it will also not have the effect of their being entitled to any arrears of pay for any further period beyond their retirement. 

However, for the purpose of calculation of retirement benefits, including pension and gratuity, the differential period in the event of enhancement of the retirement age will be added to the period of service actually rendered by each of them.