The Attorney General has informed the Court of Appeal that the Public Service Commission (PSC) has the authority to make decisions regarding the retirement of all public servants, including doctors, and that the Court of Appeal does not have the power to issue orders in this regard.
Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle, who appeared in court for the Attorney General, mentioned this when a writ petition filed by 176 medical specialists against their retirement at the age of 60 was called.
When the petition was taken up before a bench comprising Court of Appeal President Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne and M.A.R. Marikkar on Wednesday, Pulle raised a preliminary objection regarding the petition.
He pointed out that according to the constitutional law, public servants should retire at the age of 60 and if the retirement age is extended by going beyond the said constitutional law, the Public Service Commission has the power to make related decisions.
The ASG submitted that the Appellate Court is not in a position to intervene and give orders and urging that this petition cannot be maintained.Accordingly, he requested the court to issue a notice to the respondents in this petition and dismiss it at the first stage without taking it to trial.
After considering the facts, the appellate court decided to announce its order on May 17 regarding whether to accept this preliminary objection or not.The interim order suspending the gazette notification issued regarding compulsory retirement of government employees who have completed 60 years of age only for doctors and specialists was extended until the next court date.
The petition was filed by a group of doctors specializing in various medical fields including heart disease and neurology.Secretary of the Ministry of Public Administration and Home Affairs, Cabinet of Ministers and several others have been named as respondents.
The petition states that specialist doctors could have worked till the age of 63 normally. The Cabinet has decided on 17-10-2022 to reduce the age limit to 60 years and retire all public servants.
President’s Counsel who represented the petitioners previously urged that the decision was illegal and it was their legitimate expectation to continue in service until at least the age of 63. Therefore, they requested the court to annul the government’s decision to set 60 years as the age of compulsory retirement.
Having considered these facts, the court issued an interim order suspending the gazette notification issued by the government deciding to retire public servants at the age of 60 only to specialists and doctors.