ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court said restoring sacked employees of a specific period through Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act, 2010 is a clear violation of Article 25 of the Constitution.
Through the Act, relief was given to the employees, who were appointed in corporations, autonomous or semi-autonomous or government services during the period from 1st November 1993 to 30th November 1996 and were dismissed, removed or terminated from service during the period from 1st November 1995 to 12th October 1999.
A five-judge larger bench, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, on Monday, heard the review petitions of the federal government and the sacked employees against its judgment, which declared Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act, 2010, ultra vires.
The judgment said the effect of such a declaration is that any/all the benefits accrued to be beneficiaries are to be ceased with immediate effect.
Advocate Raza Rabbani, representing 200 sacked employees of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), said since 1947 Pakistan has been a closed State in terms of all the institutions. The vested interests of the military establishment were always protected. The individuals/ civilians inducted by the political government, in the government, semi-autonomous bodies are continuously seen as the intruders.
He contended that the chief law officer of this court (SC) was misguided by the Establishment Division that not 16,000 but only 5,000 government employees were affected by the impugned judgment. It is very shocking for me, he added.
The counsel said that a similar act or law was passed against the retrenchment of people employed during the Martial Law period. That Martial Law Order was saved and was given legal cover under the 8th Constitutional Amendment. Upon that Justice Bandial inquired from the lawyer do you think Martial Law is law? Raza Rabbani responded, no, adding the parliament is competent to enact the laws. He said the persons appointed during the period of Benazir Bhutto regime were taken to task and were removed. The contractual appointments made between 1993 and 1996 were regularised through Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance, 2009.
He said the rule of law is trust. Here are two tests: “An elected Prime Minister was sentenced to death by the courts.” “All is not hunky-dory as a former President of Pakistan was convicted under Article 6 of Constitution, but nothing happened, order not implemented.”
He regretfully remarked what is the standard of the constitution or the standard of law?
Raza Rabbani submitted that the people, who were employed in the specific period, were inducted on the basis of quota.
Justice Mansoor Ali Shah questioned whether these people were from Dera Ghazi, Cholistan or Thar?
The counsel did not respond.
Justice Bandial questioned what was the criteria for the regularisation of the sacked employees, because, many after their removal had joined other jobs or were doing business. He said the law (Act 2010) does not prescribe criteria for regularisation in the government or semi-autonomous bodies. He observed they were appointees of a particular political party. The PPP gave them compensation for their removal; therefore, they were regularised and provided financial benefit of three years, the judge noticed.
Justice Bandial questioned whether a society can progress without the rule of law. He said if this happens then tomorrow some other government would pass such law for the people appointed during its tenure. He questioned why these employees were given temporary employment in 1993, why they were not regularised at that time.
He said the elite is not in one sector, but this mentality exists in the society, people don’t pay taxes and hide their money abroad. He said as the parliament exists; therefore, relief should be given to the sacked employees through the legislature.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021