Govt gets two weeks to challenge SC verdict

AGP to file review plea challenging judgment on PPP-era law


Our Correspondent September 16, 2021
PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court registrar’s office has granted two weeks’ time to the federal government to file review petition against the court judgment regarding removal of thousands of employees by striking down the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act, 2010.

The registrar office accepted an application filed by Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Khalid Jawed on Wednesday in this regard. Under the Supreme Court Rules, review petition has to be filed within 30 days.

The deadline to file a review in this case is ending on September 17. The AGP will file the review petition.

Through the review petition, the government would want to seek suspension of the judgment on the first day of hearing.

The top law officer has already confirmed to The Express Tribune that the government had instructed him to go ahead with challenging the verdict that left thousands of people unemployed in various departments and state-owned and semi-government companies.

Read Govt to challenge SC order on sacked employees law

The U-turn is surprising as earlier the relevant ministry was reluctant to file the review petition. Even Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved a summary against filing review petition against the ruling.

However, protest demonstrations by sacked employees had forced the government to change its mind and reconsider its decision to not contest the judgment.

On appeals against various judgments of high courts, a three-member bench comprising Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed and Justice Aminud Din Khan had directed the government to stop all benefits accrued to the beneficiaries of the sacked employees act with immediate effect.

“The act has extended undue advantage to a certain class of citizens thereby violating the fundamental rights under articles 4, 9, and 25 of the employees in the Service of Pakistan and being void under Article 8 of the Constitution,” the judgment, authored by Justice Mushir Alam, said.

While the act intends for reinstatement, the jurisprudence of this court has clearly laid down the nuances entailed by the term ‘reinstatement’. The act does not fulfil the criteria laid down by this court in numerous cases,” it added.

“Therefore, in light of the discussion above, the Act of 2010 is hereby declared to be ultra vires of the Constitution. The effect of such a declaration is that any/all the benefits accrued to the beneficiaries are to be ceased with immediate effect.”

The court ordered the withdrawal of “lump sum” payments after the reinstatement of dismissed employees.

However, it added that the benefits received by the promoted employees for their positions should not be reversed.

The verdict would not apply to the retired or deceased employees, as per the ruling.

Read more SC strikes down sacked employees law

“The Legislature is empowered to declare any service to be service of Pakistan by or under an Act of Majlis-e-Shoora [Parliament]. This constitutional provision nevertheless does not empower the Legislature to declare any person to be in the service of Pakistan, on the basis of legal fiction,” it read.

“The Legislature by using the expression ‘shall be deemed’ has allowed to enjoy the status of civil servant, even to those persons who were excluded from its definition in terms of section 2(I)(b) of the CSA, 1973, which also includes a person, who is a contract employee as interpreted by this Court.”

The court noted that the only cavil to such a proposition is if a vested right was created, however, that could only be generated through a valid enactment.

The induction of the employees had adversely impacted the promotion of employees of the Intelligence Bureau, National Highway Authority, Pakistan Telecommunication Company, Overseas Pakistani Foundation, State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan, Civil Aviation Authority, WAPDA and Trading Corporation of Pakistan.

Consequently, employees of these departments were engaged in litigation to seek remedy against violation of their rights.

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