LAHORE  - The Lahore High Court has allowed the petition filed by the Lahore Ring Road Authority (LRRA) employees seeking their service be counted from the date of their first joining as contract employees, and pension benefits so accrued upon be granted.

In the court of Justice Rasaal Hasan Syed, the employees were represented by Kashif All Chaudhry Advocate.

The petitioners were employed on contract basis by the Communication and Works Department, Government of the Punjab for Lahore Ring Road Project Management Unit from 2004 to 2010. When the Ring Road Authority Act, 2011 was enacted, the staff of the Lahore Ring Road Project Management Unit inclusive of the petitioners was transferred to the Lahore Ring Road Authority and later their services were regularised.

The petition was filed by some 19 employees but the judgment will benefit about 170 employees of the Ring Road Authority Project.

Through their constitutional petition, the petitioners called into question the order dated 02-3-2013 which dismissed their application for inclusion of their previous service as contract employees for calculation of pensionary benefits after regularisation.

The petitioners moved the petition as they had been told that their service period as contract employee shall not be counted for the purpose of pension, gratuity, leave etc on their appointment under the Punjab Civil Servants Act, 1974 and the rules framed there under.

Earlier, aggrieved of the exclusion of their contract employment towards their length of service for the purposes of pensionary benefits, the petitioners and other employees had filed an application that was turned down through an order.

The respondents however submitted that there is specific notification which disallows the inclusion of service period of contract employees for the purpose of pension, gratuity, leave, etc upon their appointment under the Punjab Servant Act, 1974 and as such the impugned decision dated 02.3.2018 has been passed in compliance with the said policy.

The petitioners submitted that the service of employees be counted from the date of their first joining, and the benefits so accrued upon be granted as per law enunciated in the judgements of the apex court.

The court remarked in the judgment that impugned decision faces the serious objection that the same is neither well-reasoned. The petitioners had recorded specific grounds for requesting that the length of their service be calculated from the date of their initial appointment but the impugned order instead of attending to the grounds rejected the representation on the basis of the notification, the court further said.

The court ruled that the regularisation of the employees’ service did not constitute fresh appointment but was in fact their regularisation that already existed.