ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Wednesday requested the Supreme Court of Pakistan to recall its judgment that had struck down the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act 2010.
A five-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umer Ata Bandial reserved the judgment on the review petitions filed by the government and the sacked employees against the court judgment striking down the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act 2010.
In pursuance of the court’s last order, Attorney General Khalid Javed submitted proposals on behalf of the government and pleaded to recall the judgment striking down the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act 2010.
The attorney general pleaded that if the judgment is not recalled, the proposals of the government be considered for relieving the aggrieved sacked employees. The court then reserved the judgment in the review petitions and the decision will be announced today (Thursday). Justice Umer Ata Bandial asked the AG to put the government’s proposals on its website and share them with the media to inform the petitioners.
The court the other day had asked the attorney general to give proposals on what relief the government could give to the employees who worked for 10 years in different government departments. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah had asked the AG to give proposals on what relief the government could give to the employees.
On Wednesday, Khalid submitted four proposals from the government, stating that the employees from BS-1 to BS-7 and equivalent, working in respective departments/bodies/corporations before the judgment on 17-8-2021, may be allowed to continue their services in the light of the judgment of this court in the case of Muhammad Akram vs Registrar Islamabad High Court (P LD 2016 SC 961 at 993) and I) R NAVCCDA & others vs Government of Punjab & others (2003 SCMR 291 at 308)”.
The second proposal submitted by the AG related to BS-8 to BS-17 or above said the employees falling in this category and working in respective departments/bodies/corporations before the judgment on 17-8-2021 will have to undergo appropriate process/tests to be conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) for the purpose of determining whether they arc fit to hold the post to which they were appointed. This exercise may be completed within three months and while their past service will be treated as ad hoc and would not counted for the purpose of seniority that would be based on the date of regular appointment after the recommendation of the FPSC.
Thirdly, the attorney general submitted that the cases of those employees who have retired or passed away may be treated as past and closed transaction. However, it shall not entitle them to pension as they were never regularized constitutionally.
Fourthly, the AG submitted that any employee affected by the judgment and who had filed cases earlier which were disposed of solely on the basis of the ordinance or the act are free to approach courts and the courts may decide the cases in accordance with the law. The AG told the court that the court had struck down the act whereby some 5,947 employees were affected, belonging to some 38 federal departments. Similarly, he said that the sacked 3,789 employees were not civil servants.
Justice Sajjad Ali Shah observed that they will consider the government’s proposals and look into the aspect that the proposals did not affect the court’s judgment. Justice Umer Ata Bandial observed that after considering the proposals, they will give their opinion as well.
The attorney general told the court that the affected employees are depressed and pleaded with the court to issue an order right now about the employees from Grade 1 to 7. On this, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed told the AG that don’t be so hasty and let us consider the government proposals first.
Earlier, Faisal Siddiqui, the counsel representing Pakistan States Oil (PSO) employees, submitted that any declaration of unconstitutionality under Article 8(1) of the Constitution is only void and does not amount to either void ab-initio or repeal. He submitted that in the case of the PSO employees, the apex court has already declared the termination of 44 PSO employees in 1997 as illegal and the rest of the employees were simply reinstated by the Federal Service Tribunal (FST) on procedural and technical grounds. He submitted that it is a settled law that this apex court cannot convert the review jurisdiction into appellate jurisdiction by upholding the judgment under review on new grounds, once it comes to the conclusion that the judgment under review is not sustainable.
Justice Umer Ata Bandial remarked that the government can only make timely legislation through an ordinance, adding that the parliament has the jurisdiction to make legislation as per the Constitution.
Meanwhile, Abdul Latif Afridi, counsel for Utility Stores Corporation and OGDCL employees, submitted that the whole act should have not been declared ultra vires to the Constitution as the Supreme Court had held in its decisions that if some conditions are fulfilled, the whole act will not be struck down. He submitted that some 300,000 families of 16,000 sacked employees have been affected through the impugned judgment of the apex court and questioned whether the families of these employees don’t have rights guaranteed by the Constitution under Articles 3 and 2-A of the Constitution.
Justice Bandial said that’s why they had asked the attorney general to submit proposals to relieve the affected employees.