The Madras High Court found no scope for extra age relaxation in the General Rules, as SC/ST candidates were already granted a five-year age relaxation in the Special Rules per the recruitment notification.

Case Title: State of Tamil Nadu v K Parvathy

Case No: WA (MD) No. 416 of 2023 (batch cases)

Decided on: 29th November, 2023



 Facts of the Case

 A recruitment announcement for the Cook post was released by the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department, requesting qualified applicants to submit their applications. The notification stated that candidates must be proficient in reading and writing Tamil. It also set an age limit of 18 to 35 years, with preference going to members of Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, and relevant locality inhabitants. The Respondent Authority appointed the Respondents as Cooks in the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Students Hostels after they applied and took part in the screening process. But after an investigation, orders for termination were given, which led the respondents to file writ petitions contesting the termination. The petitions were granted by the Single Judge, who stated that the 35-year maximum age limit was against the 2016 Act’s proviso and that candidates from Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribes should be limited to 40 years of age.

Following the Single Judge’s ruling, other candidates filed writ petitions, contending that their overqualification should not bar them from serving as Cooks. According to the proviso to Section 20(8)(ii) of the 2016 Act and the General Rules, the maximum age limit is forty years, and those who are appointed within this age range are legitimate. This was the argument made by another group of people. Determining the upper age limit for Cook appointments in accordance with the relevant Service Rules is the primary objective of the current writ appeals.

Legal Provisions

The primary legal sections in this case are Section 20(8)(ii) of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants (Conditions of Service) Act, 2016 (referred to as the “2016 Act”) and Section 18 of the Tamil Nadu Adi-Dravidar Welfare Subordinate Service Rules. Section 20(8)(ii) of the 2016 Act deals with the maximum age limit for government servants.  Section 18 of the Tamil Nadu Adi-Dravidar Welfare Subordinate Service Rules was referenced in the argument that, in the case of posts with specified educational qualifications, the age limit shall be increased by 5 years for SC/ST candidates.


Is the imposition of a maximum age limit of 35 years for the appointment of Cooks by the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department in violation of the proviso to Section 20(8)(ii) of the Tamil Nadu Government Servants (Conditions of Service) Act, 2016?

How does Section 18 of the Tamil Nadu Adi-Dravidar Welfare Subordinate Service Rules impact the age limit relaxation?

Courts analysis and decision

In granting the appeal, the court underlined how narrowly judicial review can go when it comes to extending age restrictions set by employers in accordance with statutory regulations. Based on this viewpoint, the court declared that it is not acceptable to extend the General Rules’ five-year age limit beyond what is stated in the Special Rules. It emphasized that applicants from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe populations are already eligible for a five-year age limit extension under the Special Rules, which means that the General Rules do not apply in these cases. Following the parties’ hearing, the court made a note of how crucial it is to ensure non-discrimination and read rules holistically when there is discrepancy. The court concluded that there was no room for additional age relaxation under the General Rules because the Special Rules had already granted SC/ST candidates a five-year age relaxation, as per the recruitment notification. As so, the appeals were granted.

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Written by- Rupika Goundla

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