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JUDGEMENT REGARDING PAY PROTECTION BY PUNJAB SERVICE TRIBUNAL, LAHORE

 MUHAMMAD YAR WALLANA, MEMBER. Through this consolidated judgment I intend to dispose of above captioned thirty seven appeals because in all the appeals similar question of pay protection for the period the appellants remained serving on contract basis is involved and the question of law is also similar in all these appeals.


Brief facts of the cases as gathered from the available record are that the appellants are aggrieved by order dated 03.04.2013 of the Chief Secretary, Punjab, whereby benefit of pay protection for the period the appellants remained serving on contract basis was regretted. Feeling aggrieved, the appellants filed writ petition No.21201/2013 before the Honorable Lahore High Court, Lahore, which was disposed of vide order dated 08.07.2014 with the direction to Chief Secretary Punjab to decide the matter after affording right of hearing to the appellants. Consequently, the Chief Secretary Punjab, after affording right of hearing, rejected the same vide impugned order bearing No.SO(SE-III)7316/2013. Hence, these appeals are filed under section 4 of Punjab Service Tribunal Act, 1974, on the grounds maintained thereunder. 


The learned counsel for the appellants argued that many employees of School Education Department, Higher Education Department and Health Department appointed on contract basis like present appellants, later on having been regularized were granted benefit of pay protection by including annual increments into their pay earned  by them during contractual period but the present appellants were discriminated in total disregard of the policies adopted by Govt. of the Punjab and law on the subject matters. Learned counsel for the appellant relied upon 2008 SCMR 14, 2014 PLC (CS) 1068. 2014 SCMR 1289, PLJ 2017 Tr.C (Services) 176 and judgment dated 30.09.2016 of this Tribunal passed in Service Appeals No. 3732, 3735 and 3736 of 2015.


On the other hand the learned District Attorney assisted by the departmental representatives submitted that the matter of pay protection of the contractual employees has already attained finality by the courts as in compliance with the judgment of Honorable Lahore High Court, Lahore dated 04.06.2012 passed in W.P.No.26930/2010 a committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Secretary Law & Parliamentary Affairs Department and in view of recommendations of the committee the Chief Secretary Punjab regretted the said benefit to the appellants by rejecting their representations vide order dated 03.04.2013, which order was assailed through W.P.No.21201/2013, where again a direction was issued to Chief Secretary Punjab for redressal of grievance of the said petitioners, which was again turned down having no force. Therefore, learned District Attorney submitted for rejections of these appeals.


I have heard arguments of learned counsel for the appellant and learned District Attorney and have examined the record


It had been argued by the respondents that the matter had been concluded by the Honorable apex court and that the appellants were barred from making the claim of pay protection through these service appeals. In response to this argument, the learned counsel for the appellant had brought on record copy of order dated 12.11.2009, passed by the Honorable apex court in Human Rights Cases No.840-P & 126 of 2009, whereunder the Honorable apex court had allowed the petitioners to avail remedies by invoking planery jurisdiction under the ordinary law and it is why these appeals had been preferred by the appellants, which are maintainable as the question involved in all these appeals pertains to terms and conditions of the service of the regular employees who were initially employed on contract basis.


It was later part of paragraph No.6 of notification of regularization of the appellants vide order dated 19.10.2009, which had infact infringed their right of pay and protection on regularization of their services as their pay had been fixed at the initial of their respective pay scales and the increments earned by them during the contract appointment period were converted into personal allowance, which had given them the cause to invoke jurisdiction of this Tribunal under section 4 of Punjab Service Tribunal Act, 1974. They had also been held not entitled to the payment of 30% Social Security benefit in lieu of pension or any other pay package being drawn by them. The learned counsel for the appellant had submitted that the appellants were not claiming payment of 30% Social Security benefit or its consideration for the purposes of pension and other allowances, but the appellants had been aggrieved of the later part of the aforesaid notification for the reason of Fixation of their pay at the basic pay scale and at initial stage of respective pay scale. This Tribunal in Muhammad Altaf's case reported as PLJ 2017. Tr.C (Services) 176 and 2017 TD (Services) 335 has held that in case of regularization of services of contract employees initially appointed against regular posts they have a right of regularization of their services from the dates of initial appointments and they are entitled for all service benefits like carning of increments, upgradation and maintaining of seniority in service on the basis of such regularization by giving effect to the dates of their initial appointments and not from the date of regularization of their services. On the issue of seniority of the civil servants who were initially appointed on contract basis and later on regularized and made civil servants, the Honorable apex court in a case reported as 2014 SCMR 1289 at proper page 1312 has observed as under:-

  • "We find that even in service matter while considering the seniority of civil servants, the seniority is reckoned from the date of initial appointment and not from the date of confirmation or regularization." 

The Honorable apex court in a judgment reported as 2014 PLC (CS) 1068 on the same issue has held as under: 

  • ("C) Civil Service Contract appointment ---Regularization of service-scope-Regularization in service was not an initial recruitment but the confirmation of an existing employment." 
It has been consistently held by the Honorable superior courts and by this Tribunal that regularization of services is not to be construed as an errand initial recruitment, rather it is to be construed as confirmation of existing employment, hence it follows that on confirmation of existing employment the period already served by the employees would also entitle them to the benefits of pay in the form of increments, seniority and upgradation etc. as are normally available to the civil servants.


The appellants have also claimed pay protection on the Principle of equal treatment of equally placed persons as Govt. of the Punjab while regularizing the services of contract employees in School Education, Higher Education and Health Departments had granted the right of pay protection from the date of initial appointment on contract basis and not from the date of regularization of services. The copy of Notification No.SO(S-IV)2-31/2004 dated 23.12.2004, issued by Govt. of the Punjab, School Education Department, Notification No.SO(DENTAL) 10-03/2001 dated 17.09.2007 of Govt. of the Punjab, Health Department, Notification No.S.O(CE-II)1-6/2009 dated 13.08.2009 of Govt. of the Punjab, Higher Education Department and Notification No.(SC)REG (BS-18) 2009 dated 18.08.2009 of Govt. of the Punjab, Health Department had been got confronted to the departmental representative of the respondents in order to require specific reply, but it could not be controverted that Govt. of the Punjab in cases of employees of School Education, Higher Education and Health Departments had granted this benefit to the contract employees on regularization of their services. Hence, the case of the present appellants of unlawful discrimination is completely made out from the divergent position of the same government vis-à-vis employees of different departments for granting right of pay protection on regularization of services of their employees. 


For the reasons recorded above, the instant appeals are made out, which are accepted. The orders dated 03.04.2013 and 16.06.2015 are declared to be of no legal effect and are accordingly set aside. The appellants are held entitled to the benefits of pay protection treating them at par with the similarly placed civil servants of School Education, Higher Education and Health Departments to whom same benefit had been allowed by Govt. of the Punjab as no valid reason exists for their exclusion from same benefit of pay protection. However, it is clarified that as they would be allowed increments from the date of their initial appointments on contract basis, they would not be entitled to payment of 30% of Social Security benefit in lieu of pension or any other pay package.


The office is directed to send a copy of this order to the departmental authority concerned as provided under Rule 21 of Punjab Service Tribunal (Procedure Rules) 1975.







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