IHC gives govt three months for trade union registrar’s appointment

Updated 20 Sep 2020

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Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb directed that the headhunting be started forthwith.  — Dawn/File
Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb directed that the headhunting be started forthwith. — Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ordered the federal government to appoint a regular registrar of trade union (RTU) within a period of three months.

Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb directed that the headhunting be started forthwith.

“The NIRC is directed to complete this process within one week … his case shall be forwarded to the Central Selection Board (CSB) for consideration for promotion to the said post in a special meeting of the CSB to be convened within a period of one month,” the court order said.

The process for direct recruitment to the post of RTU, initiated by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC), shall be halted until the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resources Division (OPHRD) determines whether there is any person in the NIRC eligible for promotion to the post, it further said.

The petitioners (All Pakistan ZTBL Workers Union and others) have sought a directive to the respondents to take immediate steps for the appointment of a registrar trade union under Section 4 of the Industrial Relations Act, 2012 (IRA). Furthermore, the petitioners have sought a directive to the federal government to make arrangements for the establishment of the office of RTU with the necessary infrastructure in the Islamabad Capital Territory.

Their counsel submitted that the petitioners were industry-wide trade unions, which were seeking a referendum to determine a collective bargaining agent, but these steps could not be taken in the absence of the office of RTU.

Halts process for direct recruitment

He stated that it was necessary to establish an independent secretariat for the RTU as important functions needed to be performed by the said office under several provisions of the IRA.

He further stated that the administration of the RTU office had been impaired because the post had not been filled on a regular basis for a long time. Besides, the appointment of the RTU on an ad hoc basis over a long period of time was in violation of the law laid down by the superior courts.

Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Arshad Mehmood Kayani argued that the necessary infrastructure for the office of RTU had already been provided in the NIRC building and support staff and equipment made available.

He said the rules for recruitment of the RTU had already been framed by the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Division and notified in the official gazette.

He said the post of joint registrar (BS-19) had been advertised by the FPSC whereas the NIRC was requested to prepare a paper for submission to the CSB for the appointment of RTU.

He added that the FPSC had initiated the process, and until the post was filled on a regular basis, a stop-gap arrangement would continue.

As per the order of Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, in the event the Ministry of Overseas Pakistanis and Human Resource Division determines that there was no person in the NIRC eligible for promotion to the said post, or the person eligible was not recommended to be promoted by the CSB, the process for direct recruitment would resume and be completed by December 15.

Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2020