LAHORE: The Lahore High Court held that the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability (PEEDA) Act, 2006, supersedes all other service laws and set aside an order passed against petitioner Bashir Ali under Bank of Punjab (BoP) HR manual.

The court reinstated the petitioner in service with back benefits and held that the respondents by not following PEEDA have violated the petitioner’s right under Article 4 of the constitution. In the present case, the charges against the petitioner fall within the ambit of section 3 of PEEDA, the court added, and observed that the bank would be at liberty to proceed against the petitioner de novo under PEEDA.

The court said an aggrieved party can invoke the High Court’s jurisdiction under Article 199(1)(a) of the Constitution against a person performing, within its territorial jurisdiction, functions in connection with the affairs of the federation or a province or local authority.

The court said the PEEDA Act section 1(4) applies to employees in government, corporation service and retired employees of government and corporation service.

The court said according to the data available on the bank’s website, the government holds 57.4728% of its shares. Since the government has a controlling stake in the bank, it is an organization contemplated by PEEDA, the court added.

The court therefore inclining with the petitioner observed that the proceedings against him were not according to the procedure prescribed by PEEDA.

The petitioner had joined the BoP in December 2005 on contractual basis and was later regularized. On August 11, 2015, his successor manager at the DHA branch reported several fraudulent transactions to the management which initiated an inquiry and dismissed him from service on December 09, 2015. He approached the LHC and court remitted the matter to the Bank for re-consideration. The bank, however, maintained his decision of penalty of dismissal from service. The petitioner again approached the court against the impugned order and got relief.

The petitioner’s counsel contended that an officer of Grade-1 Ahmad Mohyuddin stole the petitioner’s password and used his digital signature to authenticate them. He said Mohyuddin in his confessional statement also confirmed to the authorities that the petitioner was not associated with him.

The Bank did not afford him adequate opportunity to defend himself. The entire proceedings against the petitioner are liable to be quashed, the counsel concluded.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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