Days before his retirement, the outgoing Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial desired from the government to regularise, in relaxation of rules and policy and as one time dispensation, only those dozens of daily wagers of Pak Public Works Department (Pak PWD), who are providing maintenance services at SC’s rest houses, lodges and Registry.

Official document shows that on August 22, 2023 the Registrar Supreme Court, in a meeting held at Supreme Court of Pakistan, conveyed to government officials (attending the meeting) that the Chief Justice Bandial had desired that these employees should be regularised for which the Pak PWD should initiate the process of regularisation in relaxation of rules and while giving them preference over fresh recruitment.

A few days back, on 11th Sept, the Ministry of Housing and Works hurriedly moved a “Summary for the Prime Minister”, seeking relaxation of open advertisement, qualification, upper age limit, and requirement of NOC from surplus pool of the Establishment Division to regularise the “selected lot”. The summary is presently in the Establishment Division, which, the sources claim, is also pushed to immediately forward the case to the PM’s Office for the premier’s approval.

The Establishment Division sources said that they find their hands tied in view of superior judiciary several judgments against such appointments in relaxation of law, rules and policy.

According to the operative part of the summary for the Prime Minister as moved by Secretary Housing and Works on 11thSept, the Pak PWD provides maintenance services at Judges Enclave Islamabad, Judges Lodges, Murree, Supreme Court Branch Registry, Peshawar and Judicial Lodges Peshawar. The caretaking and upkeeping services in these set-ups are being provided through 81 daily wage workers.

“In this regard a meeting was held on 10-03-2022 under the chairmanship of Registrar Supreme Court of Pakistan to discuss the matter of regularisation of these employees.”

In the said meeting it was decided to create various posts in these setups. Later, in the light of inter-Division consultation, final concurrence of creation of 103 posts in Pak PWD was accorded by Establishment Division and Finance Division subject to the fulfilment of codal formalities and meeting the expenses from within allocation for financial year 2023-2024 of Ministry of Housing and Works.

According to the summary, “Therefore, in a meeting held on 22.08.2023 at Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Registrar, Supreme Court of Pakistan has requested that Pak PWD may initiate the process of regularisation of work charge/contingent/daily wage employees already working in the aforesaid setups and such employees may be considered giving preference over fresh recruitment as desired by Hon’able Chief Justice of Pakistan.”

The official document added, “The regularisation of staff does not fall within the purview of a Ministry/Division or Department. Civil Servants Act, 1973 or rules made thereunder are silent regarding regularisation of staff working on daily wages/work charge etc. against a regular post. However, as desired by the Supreme Court, Pak PWD has initiated a formal proposal to allow regularisation of these employees as one-time dispensation, which entails relaxation of the following rules/policy:

a) Relaxation of requirement of open advertisement as referred in Recruitment Ruled notified vide ……. Dated 30.03.2005 as amended from time to time.

b) Relaxation of requirement of qualification as referred in Recruitment Rules notified vide…

c) Relaxation of requirement of upper age limit, if permissible, in line with ‘Initial Appointment to Civil Posts (Relaxation of Upper Age Limit) Rules 1993.

d) Relaxation of requirement of NOC from a surplus pool of Establishment Division.”

The summary said that the recruitment rules/policy were laid down under Civil Servants (Appointment, Promotion and Transfer) Rules, 1993 promulgated with the approval of the Prime Minister. Thus, the Prime Minister is competent authority to grant any relaxation in these rules/policies.

“It is, therefore, proposed that the Prime Minister being Minister-in-Charge of this Ministry may like to authorize submission of this summary and in his capacity as the competent authority may like to grant approval to relax the rules/policy as a one-time dispensation, to allow Pak PWD to regularise the services of 81 daily wage employees against posts specifically created to provide maintenance/caretaking services to the Supreme Court of Pakistan Rest Houses/Lodges and Registry,” concludes the summary.

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