Adjudicators and accountability

Written by The Frontier Post

The Supreme Court of Pakistan had observed a very important verdict on Monday regarding service matter and stated that the court was supposed to interpret the law and it could not go beyond the law as courts lack jurisdiction to provide remedies by inventing remedies of their own and termed it a dangerous trend which threatened to weaken the very fabric of constitutionalism and rule of law, and this trend must be discouraged. The court noted that the High Court could not alter, amend, or renegotiate the terms and conditions of the appointment orders of the Respondents because it did not have jurisdiction to do so. A three-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed had reserved a decision over a petition filed by the KP government against Saeed-ul-Hassan and others. The provincial government had challenged the judgments of different benches of the Peshawar High Court through which the KP government was ordered to reinstate and regularize the Respondents (Contract Employees) against their respective posts.

The Apex Court stated that the high court in all the appeals had applied the principle of similar treatment of similarly placed persons and had found the Respondents eligible for Regularization while giving relief to the Respondents. However, it was specifically mentioned in the appointment orders of the Respondents that they cannot claim regularization and further, they were employed on contract for a specific period. It was said that from this perspective, the learned High Court has incorrectly applied the law to the cases of the Respondents and as such, the Apex Court finds the view of the learned High Court to be flawed and not in accordance with the settled principles of law on the subject. It was settled principle of law that each case turned on its own facts and circumstances. When the record was clearly suggestive of the fact that the Respondents could not be regularized, and there were valid and sustainable reasons to do so, the principle of similar treatment of similarly placed employees could not blindly and indiscriminately circumvent the record to regularize those employees who were otherwise not entitled to regularization.

The Apex Court has delivered a historic verdict and observed that the subordinate court took a flawed decision while upholding only one aspect of the case and completely overlooked the other aspect. Usually, it does not happen in Pakistan and most of the departments tried to cover up the departmental mess. However, it is pertinent to mention that if the KP government did not challenge the lower court’s verdict in the Supreme Court the case would certainly go unnoticed, and the unrighteous employees will complete the normal full term of service contrary to the contract agreements. Interestingly, it has been noticed that our valued Courts give much importance to the citizen and human rights and always try to provide relief to the individual citizen vis a vis Government Departments. The overdue privatization of several government entities including Pakistan Steel Mills, PIA and Railways are living examples of such verdicts. The Apex court rightly observed that some judgments were mechanically rendered without examining the specific facts and circumstances of individual cases by relying on earlier judgments directing regularization and those too in incorrect and erroneous basis. It is very fortunate that the Supreme Court has reversed the decision and pointed out the fault. Pakistan’s top Court has set milestones for the lower courts, hopefully this reformative verdict would bring positive change to the Judicial system in future.

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The Frontier Post

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