Insensitive bureaucracy

SC orders the payment of long-withheld salary of a female teacher, thus upholding the earlier decision of BHC

July 29, 2021

Courts have once again come to the rescue of a helpless individual who suffered long due to a wrong decision of an inefficient bureaucracy. The Supreme Court has ordered the payment of long-withheld salary of a female teacher, thus upholding the earlier decision of the Balochistan High Court. Her remuneration was stopped for seven long years on grounds which later the education department and officials concerned failed to prove.

The top court asked the Balochistan’s assistant advocate general pertinent questions with regard to the stoppage of the teacher’s salary. The provincial government’s law officer told the court that an inquiry in 2014 allegedly discovered that the recruitment of the teacher, Qurat-ul-Ain, was bogus. Upon this, CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmed, who headed the two-judge bench, asked if her appointment was found to be in violation of rules, why she was not removed from service. He emphatically asserted that a government employee’s salary should not be withheld for such a long period of time when they are on the government’s payroll. Earlier, Justice Ijaz Ul Ahsan asked the law officer the same question and expressed dismay over the stoppage of the teacher’s remuneration since 2014 without having been suspended from service, and asked the AAG why the provincial government failed to enforce the relevant law.

Such cases keep on occurring where innocent government employees face prolonged ordeals in consequence of mind-numbing decisions of an insensitive bureaucracy. The decision was overturned by the higher judiciary. This once again makes a strong case for carrying out reforms in the civil bureaucracy at various levels. In the present case, not only officials of the provincial education department took a wrong decision but they challenged the high court’s decision, which was in favour of the female teacher. As the stoppage of the teacher’s salary dragged its dreary length, her agony can well be imagined. How long will we go on repeating that there is no solution to an inefficient bureaucracy, inflation and dandruff?

Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2021.

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