Pensioner allowance case put back till January without resolution
Widows being refused pensions on points of technicality
Published in DailyTimes Lahore on 22-Dec-16
ISLAMABAD: The top court on Wednesday directed federal and provincial governments to submit their replies within one week regarding non-payment of pensioner allowances. The top court, while expressing displeasure, also ruled that the officials concerned would be summoned in-person if the replies are not submitted.
A two judge bench headed by Justice Mian Saqib Nisar and including Justice Tariq Masood resumed the hearing of Suo Moto Case (SMC) and several applications of retired employees against non-payment of pensions. Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali had taken notice on a note of Justice Amir Hani Muslim highlighting the issue of non-payment of pensionary benefits to retired employees despite clear cut directions of the Supreme Court judgment in case of Muhammad Ismail Memon (PLD 2007 SC 35).
Justice Hani also mentioned that a large number of complaints had been received by the human right cell of the Supreme Court of Pakistan against different departments of the Federal and Provincial Governments besides the Accountant General Pakistan Revenues and the Accountant Generals of the Provinces, wherein the employees had complained of non-payment of their pensionary dues.
When the hearing commenced, Additional Attorney General Rana Waqar, on behalf of federal government, submitted reports before the bench. According to one report, 40 cases of pension related problems do not fall within the jurisdiction of the federation, 11 cases of different nature pertaining to pensions have been finalised, 4 cases are of those seeking double pensions and 33 cases would soon be disposed of by granting cheques to pensioners after receiving their files.
According to another report filed by the Finance Secretary, the officials of the federal government, in consultation with provincial officials, have decided to create a master database of all federal and provincial employees which would make a seamless transformation from payroll to pension roll in order to resolve pension related problems faced by pensioners.
During the course of hearing, Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed that the top court could review any judgment to ensure fundamental rights, adding that the purpose of a pension was to enable old employees to live in comfort. On the applications of retired employees of private banks, the bench ruled that the court would examine in accordance with the law whether pensions of private banks should be increased or not.
While examining the reports thoroughly, submitted by law officer, Justice Nisar inquired as to why double standards were being followed with the widows of two employees of same department. The law officer responded that authorities were examining both cases.
Justice Nisar further observed that the apex court had entitled the retired employees of PTCL for pension but they had not been given their due right. The case has adjourned for the third week of January.