LAHORE: Lahore High Court (LHC) Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Friday directed the Punjab government to give 20 percent judicial allowanceto lower courts employees as interim relief.
The chief justice issued these directives while hearing the petition filed by lower judiciary employees Abdul Malik from Lahore and Sakhawat Ali fromFaisalabad for payment of judicial allowance.
Finance Secretary Jahanzeb Khan informed the court that the provincial government was facing financial constraints and was unable to provide 50 percent judicial allowance. He offered to pay 20 percent allowance as interim relief and requested the court to adjourn the case till the presentation of budget in Punjab Assembly.
The chief justice accepted the offer of paying 20 percent allowance anddeferred hearing till budget presentation. In his remarks, the chief justice said that the Punjab government would resolve the issue in budget.
Muhammad Azhar Siddique, counsel for the petitioners, said that lower judiciary staff were performing duties similar to duties being performed by the members of the LHC establishment but that they were not being paid similar benefits which they deserved.
He submitted that special judicial allowance equal to three times of initial or substantive pay in addition to judicial allowance and utility allowance had been allowed to judges of subordinate judiciary and also to the staff of the LHC but that the same benefit had not been extended to the petitioners.
He said that the petitioners, being the employees of same province, were entitled to be dealt equally with staff of the LHC in accordance with the spirit of Article 4 of the constitution. He said that the Punjab government’s executive superintendence and financial control over the staff of district judiciary was hitting the independence of the judiciary. He said that the LHC had also written to the Finance Department to give this allowance to thepetitioners but to no avail.
He requested to declare illegal the applicability of Civil Servants Act, 1973, and rules or regulations made for the purposes of appointment, removal, promotions and financial matters regarding the lower judiciary staff. He further requested to issue directives to the government for payment of special judicial allowances equal to three times of the initial basic salary with effect from 2008.
He requested that financial and administrative affairs of the aforesaid employees should be run in the same manner affairs of the staff of superior judiciary are being run.
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