ISLAMABAD: Three days after the government filed a review petition in the Supreme Court against the sacking of , the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) on Friday terminated the services of over 500 teachers, creating a crisis-like situation in the educational institutions of Islamabad.
There are 530 teachers and around 120 non-teaching staff who were hired in the ‘90s by the then PPP government but were sacked later.
However, when the PPP came to power again in 2008, it reinstated all the 17,000 employees in various ministries and divisions through the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act (SERA) in 2010. Under SERA, around 650 teaching and non-teaching staff of the FDE were also reinstated.
But on his last day in his office, Supreme Court’s Justice Mushir Alam had on August 17 declared illegal and unconstitutional the SERA ordinance that led to the termination of FDE employees on Friday.
Reshuffling of teachers planned to avoid disruption in academic activities, says official
A notification issued by the FDE dated Sept 30 with the approval of the federal secretary education stated: “In compliance with the Honorable Supreme Court’s Judgment dated 17-08-2021….conveyed for implementation by Establishment Division dated 13-09-2021 through Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training Islamabad...the services of all beneficiaries of Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Act 2010 are hereby dispensed with accordingly. Individual letters are being issued on them separately.
“All concerned DDOs are directed to calculate the financial impact liable to recovery from the person concerned to comply with the above judgment in true letter & spirit.”
Sources in the FDE said the directorate had no other option but to issue the notification in compliance with the Supreme Court order.
“Terminating the service of someone is very difficult and a cruel task; with a heavy heart we took this decision,” said an official of the FDE.
Asked why the FDE did not wait for a decision on the government’s review petition, he said: “FDE is among those departments which issued notifications very late. We know, we are already understaffed and terminating services of over 500 teachers will create a crisis-like situation. But due to the Supreme Court order, we were bound to issue the notification,” the official said.
On the other hand, the sources said to cope with the situation from Monday, the FDE on Friday prepared a plan for reshuffling of teachers to avoid disruption to the academic activities.
The government in the review petition filed by the establishment division secretary through Additional Attorney General Sajid Ilyas Bhatti requested the apex court to recall the Aug 17 judgement and suspend its operation in the meanwhile.
The judgement had caused a furor and led to a protest sit-in outside Parliament House at a time when President Dr Arif Alvi was addressing a joint sitting of parliament on Sept 13.
The petition has named 93 people, mainly those affected by the SC verdict, as respondents and argued that though the apex court had declared SERA as illegal despite the fact that the act was duly passed by parliament, yet no notice was issued to a large number of employees who were direct beneficiaries of the act but lost or would lose their jobs immediately without any opportunity of being heard by the court.
Federal Government Teachers’ Association President Malik Ameer said if the teachers were hired against the rules they should have been terminated a decade ago.
“It is strange and unfortunate that teachers who are near the retiring ages are being sent packing on the basis of the Supreme Court order,” he said and requested Prime Minister Imran Khan and the apex court to review the decision.
“It is good that the government has filed a petition in Supreme Court. We are hopeful that the sacked teachers will get relief,” he said.
Published in Dawn, October 2nd, 2021