The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday restrained the Punjab government from terminating the contracts of the 110 employees of the Punjab Irrigation and Drainage Authority (PIDA) whose contracts will expire on December 31.
Earlier, the LHC had also stopped the provincial government from taking any “adverse action” against 51 employees of the authority.
On Thursday, Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood Khan resumed hearing the petition moved by Nasim Abbas and 109 employees who are seeking regularisation of their contracts in view of the court’s earlier verdict.
A provincial law officer informed the court that the government had not yet submitted a reply, requesting that more time be given. The petitioners’ counsel argued that the government was intentionally delaying the submission of reply.
He said that the government did not want to extend the contracts which would expire at the end of the year. He requested the court to stop the government from terminating the petitioners’ till the court decides on the matter.
The court accepted his request and directed the government not to terminate the services of the petitioner-employees, until the next hearing.
The judge also gave more time to the provincial government for submitting its reply and then adjourned the hearing till January 28, 2013.
Nasim Abbas and others have submitted that the LHC had ordered the provincial government to regularise their services within three months. But, the government had not. They have pointed out the Punjab chief secretary, under his chairmanship, had formed a committee that had refused to regularise them. The Punjab government, they say, has notified the regularisation of PIDA employees twice, in 2009 and 2010.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2012.