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Pakistan Railways: SC suspends FST decision to regularise TLAs

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Tuesday suspended the Federal Service Tribunal’s decision to regularise 250 temporary labour appointment (TLA) workers of the Pakistan Railways.

A two-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan heard an appeal of the Pakistan Railways against the Tribunal’s verdict.

The bench accepted the appeal for regular hearing.

The chief justice remarked that the workers’ temporary appointment was made on political basis, adding due to non-professionalism, the Railways is destroyed and is facing huge losses.

Justice Ijaz observed that 250 people (respondents) were inducted in the Railways as temporary workers.

After appointing people on political basis, policies were introduced to regularise them, he added. Justice Ijaz further stated that when the Railways is a government department then why appointments in it are made on a political basis.

He noted that 80 percent of the Railways income is utilised for the payment of salaries and pensions, adding temporary employees get salaries without doing any work; therefore, many accidents in Railways take place.

Justice Ijaz said there is no system in the Railways as the employees after getting salary go home. The politicians make temporary appointments, which later become problematic for the Railways.

The chief justice said, still, temporary appointments in the Railways are being made.

The counsel for the Railways said there is a ban on temporary appointments in the Railways.

Justice Ijaz remarked that during ban some way is found for appointment on a temporary basis. He said the higher officials leave vacuum for temporary appointments.

The chief justice said the temporary appointment system has destroyed Pakistan Railways. Justice Ijaz said policies were made to regularise the temporary workers. The Railways’ lawyer said the policy in hand will not be applicable for the respondents. He said the present policy for regularisation of temporary employees was introduced in 2012 and it was applicable for the temporary workers employed till 31st December 2011, while the respondents before the Court were recruited in Railways in 2013.

The counsel said the respondents were appointed on the project posts and were being paid from the contingency funds under project head. He added that since they were not working against permanent posts, they could not claim regularisation under various Regularisation Policies introduced by the appellants from time to time. The workers’ lawyer contended that his clients had been in continuous employment of the Railways since 2010. He said that although appointment letters may not have been issued in their favour by the department, their appointment and continuous working with the Railways is admitted, which is evident from the salary registers.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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