Employing teachers on daily wage basis ‘detrimental’: SC

Court upholds FST judgment challenged by govt


Hasnaat Malik November 15, 2021
Supreme Court of Pakistan. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Supreme Court has ruled that employing teachers on a daily wage basis was detrimental to the education sector of the country.

“It is also a discouraging factor for the future teachers who were demotivated and discouraged by a profession, which is pivotal in the lives of future generations,” read a 15-page verdict authored by Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan.

A three-judge bench of the apex court, led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed, heard a government petition against a Federal Service Tribunal (FST) judgment.

In its judgment, the FST had directed the government to provide pay protection to dozens of school teachers by counting the service they had rendered on a daily wage basis for pension benefits and pay.

"Teachers strengthen the foundation of any state as well as play a pivotal role in nation-building by imparting education which is necessary to uplift a society consisting of educated and aware citizens who believe in values and strengthen democracy and democratic values,” the SC verdict read.

The judgment noted that primary education is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 25-A of the Constitution.

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“The Universal Declaration of Human Rights also recognises education as one of the most important rights of children. Article 3 of the Constitution provides that all forms of exploitation shall be eliminated,” it added.

“One of the reasons for which this becomes relevant to the present controversy is that notwithstanding the importance of the services they render to society, which have consequences for generations, the respondents (teachers) were made to work under uncertain conditions on the pattern of unskilled and uneducated or semi-educated labour hired on a daily wage basis for seasonal projects expected to last for a limited period.”

The bench noted that was “appalled at this irresponsible, casual and utterly unprofessional approach of the policymakers towards a matter as important and as serious as education of our future generations”.

“We have no hesitation whatsoever in strongly deprecating the same. These actions of the appellants/petitioners (government departments) are not only contrary to Constitutional dictates but also contrary to the Principles of Policy enshrined in the Constitution which state that there has to be an equal adjustment of rights between employers and employees.”

The judgment read that if the government departments had allowed the services of ad hoc teachers or lecturers to be counted for pay protection and pension, it was hard to understand as to why the same was could not be done in the case of daily wage school teachers.

"The principle of similarly placed persons dictates that the respondents also deserve to be treated in the same manner as others who were granted the benefits of pay protection and pension from the date of their initial appointment on daily wages basis.

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The respondents have been discriminated against which is in violation of their fundamental rights guaranteed to them by the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973.”

The court observed that the FST judgment was well reasoned and proceeded on the correct factual and legal premises.

“It has correctly applied the relevant law, rules and regulations to the facts and circumstances of the cases before the court. No legal, jurisdictional defect, error or flaw in the impugned Judgment has been pointed out to us that may furnish a valid basis or lawful justification to interfere in the same."

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