Many calls and emails have been received by Mr. Amir Agha on the subject of discrimination among the Petitioner Pensioners and Non Petitioner Pensioners. Let’s see the whole situation and detail of the same.
- Notification No.FD.SR-III/4-41/2008 dated 30.1.2015 by Finance Secretary Punjab specifies repeatedly that the notified benefit is intended only for those (270) “petitioner pensioners” who went into litigation. “Petitioner pensioners” term has been used once in para 1, four times in para 2 and twice in para 3 of the said notification. The notified benefit is apparently not intended several thousand other similarly placed / positioned pensioners who did not go into litigation.
- In my opinion, this notification is prima facie in contravention of the Supreme Court repeated rulings / directions that the benefit of the said decision (that by Service Tribunal or Supreme Court) be extended to other civil servants also who may not be parties to that litigation, instead of compelling them to approach the Tribunal any other legal forum. Else, any discrimination between litigating and non-litigating public servants / pensioners equally placed in the matter of any benefit would be tantamount to unconstitutional discrimination.
- Following extract from a case may kindly be referred to :
Supreme Court has held in cases of Hameed Akhtar Niazi (1996 SCMR 1185), Tara Chand (PLJ 2005 SC 826) and Rashid Iqbal Khan (CPLA 525 of 2007 decided on 19 July 2007) that those persons who litigated, and those who did not, are to be treated alike, if similarly placed and positioned. In latest SCMR-1 2009 it has been held that if Service Tribunal or Supreme Court decides a point of law relating to the terms and condition of a civil servant who litigated, and there were other civil servants, who may not have taken any legal proceedings, in such a case, the dictates of justice and rule of good governance demand that the benefit of the said decision be extended to other civil servants also who may not be parties to that litigation, instead of compelling them to approach the Tribunal any other legal forum.
- I suggest that all other equally placed / positioned pensioners take up this serious matter on Most Immediate basis with the Punjab government. A complaint could immediately be lodged with the Punjab Ombudsman about unconstitutional discrimination being exercised by Punjab government, in contravention of Supreme Court repeated rulings / directions.
- In case Punjab government clarifies that the benefit is intended for ALL pensioners, including those who did not go into litigation, then the above may kindly be ignored.
2nd Feb 2015.
- Further to my remarks of 2 Feb 2015, I am giving below extract from para 7 of Supreme Court detailed orders dated 31 March 2014 through which appeals of Punjab government in 270 cases were rejected.
- This extract makes it unambiguously clear that Supreme Court has already recorded in its detailed order its (Supreme Court’s) repeatedly held view / direction that the benefit out of any adjudication would extend to all other retired civil servants placed in similar circumstances (including all the respondents – 270 in this particular case) who did not go into litigation.
- Exact words conveying the above legal position are reproduced below:
Be that as it may, one of the civil appeals i.e. civil appeal No.971 of 2012 arises from the judgment passed by the learned Tribunal to which no such objection has been taken by the Appellants and any adjudication thereupon qua the legal issues involved and the rights affirmed would ensure to the benefit of all other retired Civil Servants placed in similar circumstances
- The Punjab government has ignored this legal aspect of the matter, and has issued the illegal notification that benefit arising out of the cases would be given only to the 270 petitioner pensioners.
- There are two courses of action available for other (hundreds of) pensioners who are placed in similar circumstances. They may file a contempt of court petition against the Government of Punjab. Secondly, they may file a formal complaint with the Punjab Ombudsman about the illegal act of the government.
Agha Amir Ahmad
7 Feb 2015