KARACHI, Dec 17: The Sindh High Court on Monday directed the provincial government to ensure the reinstatement of 67 retrenched disabled employees of the Karachi Electric Supply Company in the power utility under the Disabled Persons (Employment and Rehabilitation) Ordinance, 1981.

A division bench headed by Justice Faisal Arab gave this direction on a petition of the sacked KESC disabled employees, including Sakhawat, Nasir Mehmood, Imran Ali and Jawaid, who impleaded the federal law secretary, Sindh chief secretary, chairman of the provincial council for the rehabilitation of disabled persons and the KESC as respondents.

The petitioners, represented by Advocates Rashid A. Razvi and Farhatullah, submitted that they were special persons as defined under the Disabled Persons (Employment And Rehabilitation) Ordinance, 1981.

They submitted that their names were duly registered in the register maintained by the employment exchange and they were duly assessed by the provincial council, created under Section 5 of the Ordinance as to the nature of their functional disability and also as their aptitude and nature of work they were fit to do.

The petitioners said that they were permanent employees of the power company. However, they said, they were illegally removed/retrenched without any reason from their respective posts with immediate effect through a letter on Feb 16, 2012.

Their counsel submitted that the respondents were constitutionally bound to ensure that commercial and industrial establishments were employing special (disabled) persons according to the relevant ordinance. In case of default, the respondents were bound to take appropriate legal actions to safeguard the interest of the special (disabled) citizens of the country, he added.

He contended that the KESC was a commercial/industrial establishment as defined under Section 2 of the Ordinance and as such it was under legal obligation to employ at least two per cent of the total employees as special (disabled) persons. The counsel stated that the present management had retrenched permanent employees on a mass scale and in their place appointed employees on a contract basis.

It was submitted in the petition that the retrenchment of the employees by the present management was illegal, mala fide and in contravention to the privatisation policy.

The petitioners stated that in their greed to maximise the company’s profit the KESC retrenched all special (disabled) persons, including the petitioners.

They stated that after removal from services they approached the provincial council for the rehabilitation of disabled person, Sindh, several times but the council failed to perform its legal duty of enforcing implementation on the ordinance in the KESC.

They said that from April 2011 to July 2011 no salary was paid to the petitioners by the power company. However, after several protest demonstrations by the retrenched employees the KESC paid only basic salary from Aug 2011 to Jan 2012, and thereafter stopped paying salaries to them.

The petitioners stated that at present the KESC had a total number of 9,000 employees and therefore, under Section 10 of the ordinance they were under legal obligation to employ at least two per cent special (disabled) persons in the company and the company was bound to employ at least 180 special (disabled) persons in the company.

The petitioners prayed to the court to declare that the retrenchment of all the special/disabled employees, including the petitioners, by the KESC was illegal, unlawful, void and of no legal consequence.

They also prayed to the court that the KESC was legally bound to employ special (disabled) persons whose number shall not be less than two per cent of the total number of employees in the company.

The petitioners also requested to the court to set aside their retrenchment orders.

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