KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday issued a notice to the federal law officer on a petition moved by the employees of the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) against the recent decision of the government to sack them.
The two-judge bench headed by Justice Umar Sial observed that the PSM issue was pending before the Supreme Court and directed the attorney general to confirm to the bench by June 23 if the same matter was fixed before the SC.
The petitioners, through senior counsel Rasheed A. Razvi, petitioned the SHC and challenged the government decision to sack all the 9,350 remaining employees of the PSM.
When the matter came up for hearing on Monday, Justice Sial pointed out that since the PSM matter was before the SC, the SHC could not hear this petition.
However, Mr Razvi argued that the Supreme Court had taken notice of matters pertaining to the PSM, but this issue was related to the sacking of its employees.
He asked the bench to issue a notice to the federal authorities to verify it.
The bench issued the notice to the attorney general asking him to inform the bench on this issue before proceeding on the main petition.
The bench also clubbed other petitions moved by the PSM employees together for a joint hearing.
The Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet had recently approved the removal of all 9,350 employees of the PSM with a one-time severance cost of about Rs20 billion.
The petitioners submitted that in 2006 the Supreme Court had issued some directions in the PSM case, adding that the apex court ruled that before its privatisation, this issue should be brought before the Council of Common Interests (CCI).
They further contended that as per Article 153 of the Constitution a policy regarding the PSM be devised by the CCI.
They sought restraining order for the federal authorities concerned from taking any “illegal” action against the petitioners.
Published in Dawn, June 16th, 2020