Supreme Court declares PPP-era law illegal, unconstitutional

Published August 18, 2021
A file photo of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — Online/File
A file photo of the Supreme Court building in Islamabad. — Online/File

ISLAMABAD: On his last day in office, Justice Mushir Alam of the Supreme Court on Tuesday declared illegal and unconstitutional a PPP-era law called Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act 2010 under which a number of people were employed or promoted.

As a result of the declaration in a 42-page judgement, any benefit that accrued to the beneficiaries has been ceased with immediate effect. According to the verdict, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to safeguard the rights and interests of citizens since the constitutional rights of the employees who have invested decades of their lifetime into the service of the country have been violated outright through the 2010 Act.

The case was heard by a three-judge SC bench consisting of Justice Mushir Alam, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah and Justice Munib Akhtar. The judgement was also authored by Justice Mushir Alam who retired on Tuesday.

The judgement explained that the case at hand involved a number of groups in which appellants/petitioners have challenged the appointments/promotions under the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act (SERA) 2010. The verdict divided the groups into further categories like those who were regular employees of organisations and departments or their seniority was affected by the employees inducted under SERA or those who were extended the benefit of the Act.

Any benefit that accrued to beneficiaries under Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act 2010 comes to end

The groups include persons who were inducted into the Intelligence Bureau (IB), Commissioner Afghan Refugees, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, some regular employees of the National Highway Authority, employees of Pakistan Telecommunication Company Ltd, Overseas Pakistani Foundation, Islamabad, State Life Insurance Corporation of Pakistan, Civil Aviation Authority, Water and Power Development Authority, Sui Southern Gas Company Ltd, Education Department and Trading Corporation of Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd Karachi.

The judgement, however, explained that the cases of employees who had retired or passed away were the past and closed transaction and, therefore, the court did not fine it appropriate to interfere in their cases as it would be an exercise in futility.

Likewise, the beneficiaries of the Act who were still in service would go back to their previous positions i.e. to the date when the operation of the Act had taken effect, the judgement said, adding that it would be inequitable to reverse any monetary benefits received by them under SERA for the period they had served.

Therefore, the verdict said, such benefits would remain intact as they were granted against service, but the lump sum received by such sacked employees upon reinstatement would be reversed.

The judgement explained that given the nature of the 2010 Act and its blatant unconstitutional mechanism, a vested right could not have been created.

The verdict said SERA had extended undue advantage to a certain class of citizens, thereby violating the fundamental rights under Articles 4, 9 and 25 and being void under Article 8 of the Constitution.

Published in Dawn, August 18th, 2021

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