SHC dismisses pleas for regularisation of 1,500 contract employees’ jobs

Updated 20 Oct 2020

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The Sindh High Court observed that the Malir Development Authority had misused its authority and made recruitment without adopting codal formalities and directed it to ensure that no such appointments were made in future. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/File
The Sindh High Court observed that the Malir Development Authority had misused its authority and made recruitment without adopting codal formalities and directed it to ensure that no such appointments were made in future. — Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons/File

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Monday observed that the Malir Development Authority had misused its authority and made recruitment without adopting codal formalities and directed it to ensure that no such appointments were made in future.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Nadeem Akhtar and Justice Adnan-ul-Karim Memon directed the MDA to complete the procedure of recruitment on open merit through a competitive process within a reasonable time in accordance with law.

The bench issued the directions while dismissing the petitions of over 1,500 contractual employees of MDA seeking regularisation of their service.

The petitioners submitted that they had been appointed in different vacant posts in BPS-1 to BPS-17 on ad hoc and contract basis.

MDA ordered to follow merit, rules in future

They stated that they were eligible to be regularised under the Sindh (Regularisation of Adhoc and Contract Employees) Act, 2013.

They argued that the provincial cabinet had also decided in March 2018 to regularise them, but the MDA was not regularising them and instead it advertised the subject posts without considering them first.

The lawyer for the MDA and an additional advocate general argued that the petitions were not maintainable and supported the impugned publication of posts to be filled on merit.

After hearing both sides, the bench observed that the basic concept of ad hoc and contractual appointments against regular posts was a stopgap arrangement, which was not a permanent character, adding that every post was required to be filled through the method prescribed by law and not otherwise.

It further said that admittedly, the petitioners were ad hoc and contractual employees and thus they had no vested right for regular appointment as for as contract employment was concerned.

The bench said that the decision of the provincial cabinet about regularisation of service as cited by the petitioners did not support their case as prima facie it did not fulfill the criteria and eligibility for regularisation of their job.

“It is well-settled now that regularisation of the services of contract employees is always subject to availability of post and fulfillment of recruitment criteria, apparently the petitioners have not initially been appointed openly and transparently through the prescribed competitive process and the vacancies were not advertised in the newspaper,” it added.

The bench further said MDA’s counsel conceded that the authority was ready and willing to allow the petitioners to participate in the competitive process on the subject posts. “Therefore, MDA is directed to permit the petitioners to take part in the process without discrimination subject to all just exceptions as provided under the law and complete the process within a reasonable time in accordance with law,” it added.

The bench further observed that prima facie the MDA had misused the authority while making the recruitment against the subject posts without fulfilling the codal formalities as required under the law while the posts of BPS-17 were also filled without following the procedure.

“Therefore, the MDA is directed to ensure that no such appointment is made in future that may be in violation of the law settled by the apex court regarding appointment etc.,” it concluded.

Published in Dawn, October 20th, 2020