The LHC ordered to form a high-level committee headed by the Punjab chief secretary to take measures to regularise PIDA employees. Two secretaries of the Finance and Irrigation Departments will be members of the committee. Justice Muhammad Khalid Mahmood announced the decision reserved on two identical petitions of the employees, seeking directions for regularisation of their services.
The services of PIDA employees should be regularised according to two notifications issued by the Punjab government in 2009 and 2010, making permanent all contract employees of different departments of the province, the judgment said. “The employees have served for more than 10 years in PIDA and deserved regularisation as they come under two notifications of the government,” the court observed. After approval of the PIDA Act 1997, all resources of the Irrigation Department had been handed over to the Authority and it had a permanent source of income in the form of water charges; therefore, it was unlawful to run the Authority on a project (PC-1) basis, the LHC also observed and ordered that the department resources should be transferred to the Authority on immediate basis.
In its decision, the court also expressed displeasure over the performance of Punjab Irrigation Department by observing that the Department had not yet succeeded to make 17Area Water Boards in its circles despite the laps of 16 years. “No contractual employee will be terminated within three months. Even the contract of any employee will be extended if it expires during three months,” the LHC directed the provincial authorities.
Abdul Qayyum Arif and 147 other employees of PIDA had filed two identical petitions submitting that the Punjab government had announced regularisation of all contract employees from BPS-1 to 16 and above by issuing a notification in 2010, resultantly all employees of provincial departments as well as autonomous bodies were regularised.
They contended that after the announcement of regularisation, the employees knocked every door of the government as well PIDA managing director for the regularisation of their services but to no avail.
They argued that the non-regularisation of their services was illegal, discriminatory and against the principals of natural justice. They had requested the court to issue directions to the Punjab government and the PIDA managing director for regularisation of their services.