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Govt finds no law, policy to fulfil SC’s request

September 23, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The government does not find any law or policy to fulfil the Supreme Court’s recent request for regularisation of 81 daily wagers of Pak Public Works Department (Pak PWD) who are providing maintenance services at the apex court’s rest houses, lodges and Registry.

Informed official sources confided to The News that there is nothing in the prevalent laws, rules or policies to allow the government to regularise the services of daily wagers or contingent staff.

These sources disclosed that before the recent summary moved by the Housing and Works Division following a request from the Supreme Court, the Establishment Division had conveyed to the Registrar SC that there was no policy under which the services of daily wagers could be regularised.

It is said that the regularization of contract employees is possible under the policy but that too where the contractual appointee meets all the eligibilities of the post against which he is being regularised. Daily wagers, it is said, can’t be regularised under any policy, law or rule.

Days before his retirement, former chief justice Umar Ata Bandial had 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 PWD, who are providing maintenance services at SC’s rest houses, lodges and Registry.

The official document showed that on August 22, 2023, the-then Registrar Supreme Court, in a meeting held at the Supreme Court of Pakistan, had 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 before the retirement of Bandial, 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 was sent to the PM's Office through the Establishment Division which, the sources, said it had already informed the SC Registrar about the legal position on the matter.

There is no hint whether the Supreme Court under the new Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa will pursue the matter or not. The Registrar of the SC has also been changed. The News contacted the office of the Registrar but this correspondent was told that the newly-appointed Registrar was not available in her office. Message was dropped to her staff but no contact could be made to know the SC’s present position on the matter. The sources said the housing ministry’s summary is still with the Establishment Division. The Supreme Court wanted to regularise the services of those 81 Pak PWD daily wagers, who provide maintenance services at Judges Enclave Islamabad, Judges Lodges, Murree, Supreme Court Branch Registry, Peshawar, and Judicial Lodges, Peshawar. According to the housing ministry’s summary, “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.”