Supreme Court reinstates sacked employees, rejects petitions against its order thumbnail

Supreme Court reinstates sacked employees, rejects petitions against its order

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has ruled to reinstate thousands of government employees, who were left jobless after the apex court annulled the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act, 2010. However, the court has rejected petitions against its August 2021 order.

One judge has penned a dissenting note saying that the court should take up the petitions. Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah has also discussed “parliamentary sovereignty or legislative supremacy” in his note.

The 2010 act passed by the PPP-led Parliament had reinstated thousands of employees who were sacked under Nawaz Sharif rule between 1996 and 1999. The act, however, was annulled in August this year leaving the reinstated employees jobless again.

They had filed review petitions against the Supreme Court judgement.

A five-judge bench headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah, Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, and Justice Amin-ud-din Khan heard a set of petitions seeking review of the annulment verdict.

On Friday, the top court issued its reserved judgement ruling that the 2010 Act violated the Constitution and hence it remains null and void “under the provisions of Article 8 of the Constitution.”

However, the court in its 8-page short order instructed authorities to reinstate employees who were sacked between 1996 and 1999.

The apex court will issue a detailed judgement later.

The Supreme Court has reinstated almost all sacked employee who were rendered jobless but with a caveat.

Government employees who were working in lower grades (grade 1 to grade 7) when they were originally sacked in 1990s, would be reinstated “from the date of the judgment under review to the posts they were holding” in 1990s when they were first sacked. That is, they would be reinstated on the same position and in the same grade they were holding in 1990s.

Employees who were originally sacked from grades that “required the passing of any aptitude or scholastic or skill test for appointment” will be reinstated “on the same terms and conditions of service applicable on the date of their initial termination.”

However, employees who were originally dismissed under the charges of misconduct or corruption would not be reinstated.

The court also ruled that “any improvement in the terms and conditions of the service” of the reinstated must be strictly in line with the law and rules and in case rules did not exist they will be laid down by the concerned departments.

Earlier, at a hearing on Wednesday, the federal government presented a formula in court:

  • Employees from grade 1 to grade 7 would be reinstated without any preconditions.
  • Employees from grade 8 to grade 17 will have to take a test conducted by the Federal Public Service Commission. The test will be held within three months and meanwhile, they would be considered ad hoc or temporary employees.
  • The government would not take back the money given to the employees in salaries and perks.

‘Supremacy of legislator’

The judgement was given by a majority of four to one. Justice Mansoor Ali Shah accepted the plea to review the August 2021 judgment and wrote a dissenting note.

He began his note by saying, “Parliamentary sovereignty or legislative supremacy is the cornerstone of a strong democracy. We must, therefore, recognize the central role of the legislature.”

Justice Shah also said that “under Article 8 of the Constitution, any law enacted by the legislature is void only to the extent it takes away or abridges fundamental rights of the people.”

Who are sacked employees?

In 2010, the Pakistan Peoples Party government passed the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act, 2010 shortly after it promulgated an ordinance to reinstate over 16,000 government employees who were sacked in 1996 by the then Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government.

However, the Supreme Court declared the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act, 2010 illegal and unconstitutional in August 2021, and the employees were again sent home.

Most of these sacked employees had been protesting in different cities of the country.

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