This article is written by – By Himanshu Shukla, Student (IP University, Delhi)
The Supreme Court (SC) in the bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Hrishikesh Roy observed that there was no reasonable justification for different ages of retirement for doctors practicing the AYUSH and the Allopathic. Also, the mode of treatment doesn’t qualify as a precise difference between two categories of doctors (ayurvedic and allopathic doctors) for deciding the age of retirement.
“The only difference is that AYUSH doctors are using indigenous systems of medication like Ayurveda, Unani, etc. and Central Health Service (CHS) doctors are using Allopathy for tending to their patients.” And the bench observed it as an unreasonable justification contrary to Article 14 of the constitution.
AYUSH doctors working under NDMC were entitled to the advantage of enhanced retirement age of 65 years (raised from 60 years), it was held while the Bench was dealing with an appeal filed by the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) against the High Court judgment.
The dispute in the case arises by an order of MoHFW [dated 31.05.2016] that raised the age of retirement for General Duty Medical Officers of Central Health Scheme from 60 years to 65 years. The NDMC on the 30th day of June 2016, adopted the govt. of India order and increases the retirement age from 60 to 65 years for allopathic doctors who worked at NDMC. Ayurvedic doctors were saddened with their eviction from the order increasing the age of retirement. Therefore, few of them approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT).
The Ministry of AYUSH issued an order to extend the age of retirement of AYUSH doctors to 65 years dated 27.09.2017. Meantime, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) accepted the argument of unjust discrimination claimed by Ayurvedic doctors and allowed the applications filed by doctors.
The Delhi high court on an appeal filed by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC); upheld a Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order- that applicants who are Ayurvedic doctors are entitled to avail the benefit of increment in the age of retirement from 60 years to 65 years, similar as Allopathic doctors.
In appeal, the Supreme Court upheld the high court judgment and said that the difference in the method of treatment employed by the two authorities won’t be a reasonable ground for different ages of retirement for two categories of doctors (ayurvedic and allopathic doctors).