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LAHORE: The Lahore High Court accepted identical petitions of Muhammad Tahir Nawaz and other employees of National Engineering Services Pakistan (Private) Limited (NESPAK) and set aside their impugned termination letters.

The petitioners were represented by Ijaz Ahmad Awan advocate. The court said the impugned termination letters were cyclostyled and inexplicit. The court further said even the impugned termination letters do not meet the standards of good governance developed over the years in respect of public sector employments. Hence, the company’s action against the petitioners cannot be approved.

The court held that NESPAK has sent the petitioners home under a plan which has neither been prepared nor approved in accordance with the Corporate Governance Rules. It lacks transparency and fairness and completely disregards the principle of procedural due process, the court said.

The court further said if NESPAK needs any restructuring or new policies to improve its working, including those relating to human resource, it must get ahead subject to the condition that it complies with the Corporate Governance Rules and ensures transparency and non-discrimination.

The courts disapproved the notices which merely intimidate the employee/worker that his services are no more required because they cannot justify his termination, the court maintained. The courts have held that the public sector employments cannot be snapped with one stroke of pen as it offends various provisions of the Constitution, particularly Article 4, the court added.

The petitioners’ counsel Ijaz Ahmad Awan contended before the court that the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has framed the Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules, 2013 to regulate the public sector companies as defined in Rule 2(1) (g). He said that NESPAK is subject to those rules as a state-owned enterprise. It has terminated the petitioners in complete disregard thereof with the malafide intent to create room for political appointments, he said.

Ijaz Awan argued that the impugned termination letters are bad in law and thus liable to be quashed. The counsel for NESPAK, however, submitted that NBSPAK’s Employees Service Rules supplement the Corporate Governance Rules and are thus valid and enforceable.

He contended that the petitioners’ grievance relates to the terms and conditions of service which are the subject of the Employees Service Rules. Since the said rules are non-statutory, the petitioners are governed by the principle of master and servant and hence this petition is not maintainable, he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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