Khalid Hussain –
ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): In a heartwarming judgment that restores one’s faith in justice, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmad Wednesday issued directives to National Commission for Human Development for regularization of service of its field officer in district Karak Iffat Naureen who was denied her right without justification.
National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) filed an appeal against the Peshawar High Court verdict in the matter during 2018 which a two-member bench of the Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad and Justice Ijazul Ahsan taken up on Wednesday.
CJP Justice Gulzar Ahmad patiently heard the appealing lawyer and emphatically told him they had been callous in denying the lady her right. Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad also admonished the NCHD for denying the right of their employee without any justification.
The SC bench decision means she will get her right after years of miserable litigation to secure her due right. “I have been forced to sell my jewelry to fight the injustice”, she told TLTP outside Court Room I today.
Iffat Naureen was appointed as Markaz Coordinator in the NCHD on 10 March 2010 on contractual basis. TLTP investigations discovered that the real reason behind the NCHD callousness was a personal vendetta by its former Deputy Director (DD) NCHD Karak. Iffat married a colleague in 2011 which was resented by DD who had asked her not to marry the man because they had an enmity.
It was he who refused her maternity leave when she suffered an abortion in March 2012. Her application for leave was duly supported by a medical report but was neither refused nor granted the same. This was sheer discrimination as another lady colleague was awarded maternity leave in similar circumstances by the same officer. Instead when she reported back on duty after recovery, the Deputy Director refused to allow her to resume her service and had her service terminated on grounds of absence.
She was forced to move an application to the NCHD higher authorities but got no relief. She then invoked the extra-ordinary jurisdiction of the High Court and was reinstated. The court noted in its 15 March 2015 judgment that she had been denied medical leave her noting NCHD officials acted against constitutional provisions as she was not treated equally with similar placed person. The court held NCHD acted against the principles of natural justice and even against the norms of principles of Audi Alteram Partem i.e. listen to the other side.
The High Court noted she was removed from service in derogation of regulations in force and held NCHD conduct was “unlawful malafide and vindictive”. Declaring the order for removal from service against her as unlawful, arbitrary and against the spirit of the Constitution, the High Court set aside the order of her removal and directed NCHD to re-instate her with back benefits on the post she previously held.
However, NCHD did not comply with the High Court judgment and did not reinstate her for two years. She was forced to institute a contempt of court petition. It was only at the pain of penalty that NCHD officials finally re-instated her in March 2016.
Meanwhile, services of 2943 of her colleagues with one year service were regularized by the government in one month after her termination from service. She obviously was denied regularization under a Cabinet Secretariat notification since she had been illegally terminated after two years of service in June 2012. She applied to the NCHD officials but was denied regularization.
She was once again constrained to approach the Peshawar High Court requesting NCHD ordered to regularize her services with back benefits and be treated at par with her batch mate Markaz Coordinators.
NCHD fought tooth and nails despite knowing her petition was not hit by laches. The high court noted in its judgment of 27 March 2018 NCHD had no lawful justification to terminate her services knowing she would have been regularized as per the Cabinet Division notification. High court noted in its final judgment the petitioner has suffered on account of lapses and callous attitude of the NCHD for no fault of hers.
To add insult to her injury, NCHD regularized the services of two employees from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa whose names were allegedly inadvertently missed from the list of staff sent for regularization to the Cabinet Sub Committee. Observing that she also deserved the same treatment, the high court directed the NCHD officials to do the needful for the regularization of her service as was done for her other colleagues.
The NCHD, however, moved an appeal in the Supreme Court in 2018 challenging the judgment by the Peshawar High Court. It was only today that Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmad finally dismissed the NCHD appeal while upholding the High Court decision.
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