Regularisation challenge: Govt told to give irrigation staffers four months’ pay

Published: December 23, 2016

RAWALPINDI: A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Thursday directed the Punjab Irrigation and Power authorities to pay four months salaries to 15 daily-wage employees who had been seeking regularisation of their services through the court.

Justice Muhammad Ameer Bhatti of the LHC Rawalpindi bench directed officials of the irrigation department to pay salaries to Muhammad Asghar and other petitioners for the last four months after they filed a contempt of court plea against the irrigation department for not complying with an earlier order of the court regarding their regularisation.

The court also asked the concerned authorities to file a written response to the contempt of court plea by January 19.

Citing Punjab Chief Secretary Zahid Syed, Irrigation and Power Secretary Muhammad Aslam, Chief Engineer Chaudhry Mushtaq, and divisional engineers of the department in Rawalpindi division as respondents, the petitioner through – Advocate Tanveer Iqbal – had prayed to the court to direct the authorities to implement the court’s earlier orders for their regularisation.

The petitioners said that in February 2016, the LHC had accepted three identical petitions filed by contract employees of the irrigation department. The court had directed the department to regularise the petitioners, who had been working as daily wagers against permanent posts for the last 10 years.

The department, instead of implementing the orders, challenged the decision in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court, however, sent back the Punjab government’s petition to the LHC while suggesting that the government file an intra-court appeal in the high court.

The government’s appeal is still pending in the high court. A division bench of the LHC had not yet suspended the orders of the single bench for regularisation of the petitioners, who work at different small dams in the Rawalpindi division.

The petitioners had maintained in court that the irrigation department, instead of regularising them, had stopped paying them monthly salaries. They said that the department had paid them no salaries since September.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 23rd, 2016.

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