1. All these four Suits have one thing in common and i.e. the Plaintiffs compulsory retirement in terms of Admin Order(s) Nos. 40/2001 and 41/2001 both dated 01.11.2001, whereby, Defendant (“PIA”) initiated and implemented a Mandatory Retirement Scheme. All Plaintiffs before this Court stood retired pursuant to such scheme which has been impugned in these Suits.
2. The precise facts in Suit No. 1244/2006 (“leading Suit”) are that the Plaintiff was appointed in PIA as Marketing Officer in Pay Group VI in April, 1970. On 14.10.1999 the Plaintiff was promoted as Director Marketing and Special Assistant whereas, on 04.08.2000 Plaintiff was appointed as Director Special Projects. It is further stated that the Board of Directors of PIA in its 258th meeting held on 22.10.2001 approved certain amendments / addition in PIAC Employees Service Discipline Regulations, 1985 (“Regulations 1985”) and in view of the said meeting vide Admin Order No. 40/2001 dated 01.11.2001 the Regulations of 1985 were amended and pursuant to such amendment Admin Order No. 41/2001 dated 01.11.2001 was issued and thereafter, on 05.11.2001 (“impugned order”) the mandatory retirement order of the Plaintiff was issued.
The Plaintiff being aggrieved filed a departmental Appeal on 04.12.2001 which was turned down vide order dated 26.02.2002, against which an Appeal bearing No. K-330/2002 was filed before the Federal Service Tribunal (“FST”). Thereafter, the Appeal of the Plaintiff was allowed by FST vide judgment dated 12.05.2003 whereby, the Plaintiff was reinstated with all back benefits. PIA being aggrieved with this judgment preferred Civil Petition for Leave to Appeal No. 263/2003 before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan wherein, leave was granted on 15.03.2004 and the order of FST was suspended. After grant of leave, the Appeal was numbered as C.A No. 476/2004 and during pendency of this Appeal in another matter a judgment was announced in the case of Muhammad Mubin-us-Salam and others V. Federation of Pakistan and others (PLD 2006 SC 602), whereby, Section 2-A of the Service Tribunal Act of 1973 was declared ultra vires and certain directions were issued. In terms of the said judgment the Appeal pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court was abated and as per directions contained in Para 109 the Plaintiff filed instant Suit within 90 days of the said judgment on 23.09.2006.
3. The Plaintiff in Suit No. 1346/2006 was appointed in PIA as Traffic Assistant in 1962 and till passing of the Mandatory Retirement Order on 05.11.2001 had reached to Pay Group X and the last assignment held by him was that of Director Customer Service. The Plaintiff challenged the Retirement Order dated 05.11.2001 through a Departmental Appeal on 28.11.2001 which was dismissed vide order dated 26.02.2002 which was further challenged before the FST on 28.03.2002 bearing Appeal No. 332(K)CE/2002 and vide judgment dated 12.05.2003 the Appeal of the Plaintiff was allowed and he was reinstated with all back benefits. The other facts are identical to Suit No. 1244/2006 and this Suit was also filed on 23.09.2006.
4. The Plaintiff in Suit No. 1349/2006 was appointed in PIA on 31.07.1975 as an Officer in the Administration Department and till passing of the Mandatory Retirement Order on 05.11.2001 had reached in Pay Group VII. The Plaintiff in this Suit impugned the Mandatory Retirement Order dated 05.11.2001 by filing an Appeal before the Service Tribunal on 28.03.2002 which was decided through the same order dated 12.05.2003. The remaining facts are identical and this Suit was also filed on 23.9.2006. Similarly plaintiff in Suit No.1351 of 2006 was appointed on 5.3.1978 as a Manager in Pay Group IX. His retirement order was passed on 5.11.2001 which was challenged through a departmental appeal dated 28.11.2001 which was dismissed vide order dated 27.2.2002 against which an appeal was preferred before FST which was also decided through the same order dated 12.5.2003.
5. Written statements were filed in all these Suits and on 24.03.2008 in Suit No 1244/2006 following issues are settled, whereas, vide order dated 17.03.2008 common issues were settled in Suit No. 1346, 1349 and 1351/2006.
6. Dr. Muhammad Farogh Naseem learned Counsel for the Plaintiff in Suit No. 1244/2006 has led the arguments and has contended that insofar as the objection of maintainability regarding limitation is concerned, per learned Counsel the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Mubin-us Salam supra vide Para 109 had given a period of 90 days after abatement of the Appeal to seek appropriate remedy and instant Suit has been filed within 90 days and therefore this objection is not sustainable; that even otherwise, the order of FST was in favour of the Plaintiff and therefore, there could be no question of any limitation against the Plaintiff after abatement of the proceedings, whereas, no act of the Court shall prejudice a litigant; that it is an admitted position that the relationship between the Plaintiff and Defendant is of a master and servant and therefore, the mandatory retirement can be challenged by the Plaintiff though a Civil Suit for claiming compensation and damages notwithstanding the fact that FST had already restored the Plaintiff with all back benefits; that the impugned order of mandatory retirement was passed without affording any opportunity of a show cause and or hearing, whereas, it is settled law that the principles of natural justice cannot be dispensed with hence, the impugned order is a void order; that the Defendants have failed to lead any evidence to the effect that such an Admin Order was warranted in law and further that such an order has served its purpose as intended inasmuch as nothing has been brought through evidence that the alleged losses were wiped out and a proportionate profit was earned; that Chief Executive Order No. 06/2001 dated 05.07.2001 provides a mandatory notice before any adverse action is taken which in the instant matter has been dispensed with without any lawful authority and justification therefore, the principle of natural justice has been violated; that the act of PIA through the impugned order is not only malafide and arbitrary but violates Article 25 of the Constitution by discriminating the Plaintiff vis-à-vis. the other employees and is in fact a case of pick and choose by exercising discretion arbitrarily; that even in Golden Hand Shake Scheme all benefits up to the retirement age were granted by PIA and other Government Departments, whereas, in this matter the Plaintiff has been retired compulsorily with only three months’ salary; that in the case of Jahangir Khan (a similarly placed employee) after his success before FST an agreement / compromise was reached by PIA so as to accommodate him and compensate fully, whereas, no such exercise was done in the case of the Plaintiff; that the Plaintiff is entitled for judgment and decree for full compensation of benefits including the retirement benefits, if any.
Further information regarding compulsory retirement under mandatory retirement scheme PIA can be solicited from AUJ LAWYERS. Feel free to contact us in case you need any clarification and/or require legal assistance regarding similar matters.