PESHAWAR: A woman employee of the higher education department on Monday moved the Peshawar High Court for the formation of a larger bench on an issue related to the wedlock policy claiming the court’s different benches have delivered divergent judgments on it.

Munaza Ibrahim, a librarian, filed the petition under the Code of Civil Procedure, saying she was transferred from a government girls degree college in Swabi to a college in Peshawar in accordance with the wedlock policy but after few days, the transfer order was cancelled over ‘political pressure’ though she had formally relinquished the previous responsibilities and assumed the new ones.

In the petition filed through lawyer Saifullah Muhib Kakakhel, the employee contended that the high court had always issued directives in wedlock policy and protected the rights of the families of the women employees in line with the constitutional provisions.

She said her transfer order was issued on Jan 5 in accordance with the wedlock policy as her husband was posted to the Islamia College Peshawar but that was cancelled through an order issued on Jan 27, 2021.

Insists different benches gave divergent verdicts on posting issue

The librarian said her petition challenging the cancellation of her transfer was rejected by a high court bench on Feb 15, 2021.

She added that a high court bench headed by Chief Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan in one of the cases had protected the rights of women through a verdict on Aug 7, 2019, and directed the secretary of the elementary and secondary education department to post the husband and wife to one station or nearby stations.

The librarian said the court had ruled that unmarried women employees were to be posted to the areas, where their parents lived, or in the immediate neighbourhoods.

In the petition, she said a senior judge of the high court, Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani, had dismissed a petition on the issue but directed the government to adhere to the wedlock policy and thus, protecting the families under Article 35 of the Constitution.

Referring to the judgments passed by other benches and the same bench in which directions were issued, woman employee contended that under the Constitution and judgments of the Supreme Court and high courts, there should be a consistency in the judgments and if the second bench hearing the case had a viewpoint different from the first one, then the matter should be referred to the larger bench.

She said there should be one opinion of the courts and same should be followed by the Judges as it would strengthen the people’s confidence in courts and they, without feeling any hesitation, would come forward for the protection of their constitutional and legal rights.

The petitioner said there was a consistent view of the courts that there was no remedy available to a person, who had been transferred, and departments were always directed to decide the departmental appeal of a civil servant within 30 days but in her case, no directions were issued and therefore, she had to file that application.

She said the court had jurisdiction to convert the petition into a review one and provide relief to her.

Published in Dawn, March 2nd, 2021

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