Dear Mr. Roy,
I agree with the views expressed by Sh Raaj Gupta that the age of retirement varies from industry to industry in private sector industries, hence it can not be compared.Normally there are following three methods to fix the age of retirement:-
(i) As per the company's Policy (ii) As per terms & conditions of the Appointment/contract agreed between the parties (ii) The age as mentioned in the certified standing orders of the establishment.
Section 12-A of Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946 provides that if the Act is applicable to the establishment and till the time the standing orders are not certified, the Model Standing Orders shall be made applicable.The Schedule I -B has prescribed the Model standing orders on additional items applicable to all Industries,which reads as under:-
"The age of retirement or superannuation of a workman shall be as may be agreed upon between the employer and the workman under an agreement or as specified in a settlement or award which is binding on both the workman and the employer. Where there is no such agreed age, retirement or superannuation shall be on completion of  years of age by the workman".
Thus I find that the action of your company is irrational in retiring the employees at 55 years of age.The age of retirement has to be in consonance with the provisions prescribed under the Industrial Employment (Standing Orders) Act, 1946.The company is at liberty to frame different rules for senior level officers, who are not covered under the IE(SO) Act.
I think you have some misconception about "Superannuation'- which according to you means 'incapable of working due to old age.On the other hand, the superannuation is retirement on attaining the age of retirement in normal course (i.e. while being in good health).The term "Retirement " covers all cases which includes retirement prematurely due to injury and ill health.The Compulsorily retirement is made applicable to the persons because of their misconduct/ill health etc and Voluntary retirement is for reasons other than ill health etc.
Since you have mentioned that the matter is sub judice and the staff welfare committee has already challenged the decision in the court of law, they can certainly take a plea that the age of retirement can not be below what has been mentioned in the standing orders whether certified or not.
Member since Aug 2011
11th September 2013 From India, Mumbai