KARACHI: After delaying for over a year and failing to get an order of restraint from the Supreme Court, the Sindh government finally surrendered and submitted a notification on Friday before the Sindh High Court agreeing to pay arrears towards the salaries of judicial employees in instalments.
According to the notification, the judicial employees starting from August 2012 will get arrears equal to one month with the salary of every month. The arrears accrue from January 2010 to June 2011, a law officer for the provincial government told the bench, comprising Chief Justice Mushir Alam and Justice Syed Muhammad Farooq Shah.
However, Rasheed Razvi, Haider Imam Rizvi and Barrister Salahuddin Ahmed representing the petitioner judicial employees and officers, pointed out that according to the notification arrears are payable up to February 2012. The counsel for provincial government then agreed to pay till up to February 2012.
The bench observed that payment would be subject to any order of the Supreme Court, if it is passed in an appeal filed by the Sindh government against the judgment of the high court ordering immediate payment of all dues to the judicial employees and officers.
Allowing a request of the Sindh government, the bench recalled its earlier order of attaching government money amounting to rupees 1.37 billion and ordered its release.
The bench later put off further proceedings till after Eid-ul-Fitr.
In an identical petition filed by employees of federal government courts (Special Anti Corruption Court, etc), the bench asked about the notification or modalities for payment. As no such notification was issued by federal government in respect of these employees akin to one submitted by the provincial government, the bench adjourned proceedings till August 18 when federal government was expected to issue and place a notification on similar lines.
The issue of arrears came up as the high court while deciding at least half a dozen petitions by employees of Sindh judiciary (subordinate courts) ordered the government to increase the salaries three times making them at par with salaries paid to the judicial employees in Punjab, Khyber Pukhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 11th, 2012.