Here I am discussing with detail about the case of Restoration of Pension for the Punjab Govt Pensioners. Writ Petition No.22550/2013 [submitted by Mr. Sardar Ali, pensioner since 8 Dec 1995] was disposed of by Lahore High Court with the orders to Secretary Finance Department Punjab, to treat the matter as a representation from the petitioner and decide it in the light of judgement as per 2011 PLC (C.S) 580, as well as judgement in Writ Petition No. 21545/2011 dated 17 November 2011.
2. Mr. Muhammad Jehanzeb Khan, Finance Secretary, Punjab heard the petitioner, Mr. Sardar Ali and considered the latter’s claim for grant of increases on restored part of his pension. Order No.FD.SR.III/4-419/2013 was then issued on 24 October 2013, stating that Punjab government has already filed 47 civil appeals in the Supreme Court against the judgements of Lahore High Court on similar cases, and the appeals are still subjudice. Last collective hearing was held on 27 December 2012. The petitioner was advised to await Supreme Court order in those cases, as his case would be re-examined when the appeals before the Supreme Court are decided.
3. Main contention of Punjab government against grant of benefit (of increases on restored pension) is that the benefit ordered by Federal government, in compliance of High Court orders, upheld by Supreme Court, relates to federal government employees alone, and was / is not applicable to the Punjab government employees.
My comments about Restoration of Pension for the Punjab Govt Pensioners
4. Since the 47 appeals from Punjab government are still subjudice, no comments can be offered on those. However, Supreme Court is well aware that it is not those 47 pensioners alone who are anxiously awaiting the Court orders. Many thousand other pensioners are sharing that anxiety and are eagerly awaiting Supreme Court orders. And if no hearing has been held after 27 Dec 2012, the 47 pensioners may consider meeting the Supreme Court Registrar or even some judge with the request to expedite the matter. It is possible that some of the affected pensioners may even die before the Supreme Court issues orders.
My suggestion Restoration of Pension for the Punjab Govt Pensioners
5. I suggest that other Punjab pensioners consider filing fresh petition with the Lahore High Court with additional grounds. Certain facts, perhaps not brought up earlier, need to be included in the fresh petition. For example :-
(a) There is no difference in the pension rules of the Federal and the provincial governments insofar as grant of pension, its commutation, increases in pension and restoration of pension are concerned.
(b) High Court has already ordered in various writ petitions that upon restoration, the restored half should be at par with (equal to) the un-commuted part. Presently, restored half is less than other half, as illustrated below.
6. IMPORTANT Some other similarly placed pensioners may take up case afresh with the Punjab Ombudsman. After pointing our various issues involved, they may include in their prayers that the following additional benefit be allowed to them :
“Since Punjab government is not inclined to give the due increase on restored pension, through following the long drawn process of appeals to Supreme Court, and more time is being taken by the Supreme Court, therefore the rightful dues are being denied to the pensioners from the date of restoration of their pension. They have thus suffered financially too, in addition to all those mental anxieties and sufferings. Many a pensioner would even die before they get their due benefit. Under the circumstances, Ombudsman may kindly order the government to pay Compensation too, along with the due increases, for the period commencing from date of restoration till the date on which the increases are given by government. This compensation should not be less than the khas deposit rate on national savings.”
7. Readers are welcome to offer comments / corrections / suggestions.