The Attorney General informed the Court of Appeal today that the Health Authorities have taken a decision to raise the retirement age of consultants, specialists, and doctors to 63 years.
Additional Solicitor General Nerin Pulle PC, appearing for the Attorney General, told the court that he received instructions from the Secretary to the Ministry of Health that the age of retirement of the petitioners would be raised to 63 years, and a Cabinet decision would be taken to this effect as well.
ASG Pulle made this revelation in response to a writ petition filed by 176 consultant specialists challenging the decision of the Cabinet of Ministers dated October 17, 2022.
He moved the court that he be permitted to file the same by way of a motion and have the matter mentioned on the 30th of June.
President’s Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardena, appearing for the petitioners, appreciated this decision, citing it as a welcome move. However, he strongly objected to the case going down as late as the 30th of June, as the petitioners would risk having to retire by the 30th of June. He moved that until the new proposal is effected, he either be permitted to make submissions today or for the case to be fixed for support tomorrow itself for the Attorney General to enter terms if the matter is settled in a meaningful manner. Jayawardene PC moved that the court be pleased to record the Attorney General’s submission.
Romesh de Silva, appearing for some other petitioners, also moved for the matter to be fixed for support tomorrow. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal fixed the matter for support tomorrow (28) and recorded that the proposed settlement is to allow all the categories of medical professionals set out in the document marked A4 to continue in service until 63 years of age.
The petitioners are specialists and consultants in varied fields of medicine, including Cardiology, Cardio-Thoracic Surgery, Oncology, Neurology, Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Haematology, Ophthalmology, histopathology, anaesthesia, paediatrics, and Auto-Rhinolaryngology.
They alleged that this decision has been made illegally and in complete violation of their legitimate expectation to continue in service at least until 63 years of age.