Pakistan’s Utility Stores Corporation has issued an order authorizing the dismissal of employees that were previously reinstated under a court ordinance act passed in 2010.
The Utility Stores Corporation of Pakistan (USC) circulated an office order with the aim to implement the Supreme Court’s recent verdict that declared the Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act, 2010, as unconstitutional.
In the order, the USC stated that “sacked employees serving in USC have to be relieved immediately.”
It specified that zonal managers should take action with respect to staff up to BS-13, while the Head Office would handle dismissals for employees at and above BS-14.
The USC order also stated that “monetary back benefits received by the employees upon reinstatement are to be recovered,” but that this does not include benefits in the form of salaries and allowances. This means that employees will only have to return the lump sum they received at the time of reinstatement.
The Sacked Employees (Reinstatement) Ordinance Act was passed in 2010 when the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was in power. It reinstated public sector employees who were appointed from November 1, 1993, till November 30, 1996, and were sacked by the government from November 1, 1996, till October 12, 1999.
On August 17, a three-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, pronounced the reinstatement act illegal and in violation of the constitution.
The court judgment stated that “the Act of 2010 is hereby declared to be ultra vires of the Constitution,” and declared that “any/all the benefits accrued to the beneficiaries are to be ceased with immediate effect.”
The judgment clarified that this measure would not affect staff that has already retired or passed away. “Whereas, the beneficiaries of the Act of 2010, who are still in service, will go back to their previous positions, i.e. to the date when the operation of the Act of 2010 has taken effect,” it said.
The order demands that the “lump sum” received by staff at the time of reinstatement should be returned, but monetary benefits such as salaries and allowances received by them during this period would not be reversed.
Since the Supreme Court’s verdict, several public sector departments have issued similar dismissal orders. In response, reinstated employees have filed pleas challenging the court’s decision, arguing that the sudden terminations threaten their careers and financial stability.