IHC questions legality of 21 ZTBL VPs relegation

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ISLAMABAD, (TLTP): While extending stay order in a matter relating to recoveries of salaries from 21 vice presidents of Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL) in wake of their alleged wrong promotions, Islamabad High Court (IHC) Tuesday asked the Bank’s counsel to come up with response whether petitioners were given hearing opportunity before relegation.

Advocate Umer Ijaz Gilani had filed the petition before the IHC, challenging an office memorandum relating to relegation of 21 vice presidents of the country’s largest agriculture sector financial institution on the grounds that demotion of an employee is subject to approval of Board of Directors, saying slots of the Board are still vacant.

He further claimed that Bank management has canceled promotions of as many as 150 employees including 21 vice presidents without following due process of law alleging the management failed to provide hearing opportunity and issued an office memorandum in the matter at once. 

Opposing the petition before a single-member bench of the Chief Justice Athar Minallah in the matter, counsel for the Bank counsel made a point that representations of all the total 21 petitioners were pending before the Bank in the current case the counsel urged the court to dismiss the plea.

However, the Bank counsel remained unable to respond the court query whether the aggrieved employees were given a hearing before issuing the office memorandum in question.

To which Chief Justice observed, “Prima facie, the impugned orders (office memorandums) were illegal because they violated Article 10A of the Constitution, whereby the right of hearing is a fundamental right – A fair hearing has to be given to employees before making a decision, not after it”.

During the course of proceedings, counsel for the petitioners Umer Ijaz Gilani raised legality of  functioning of the ZTBL which he claimed was functioning without a Board of Directors, adding due to such deficiency, many actions of the Bank, including the office memorandum in question were illegal.

Responding to request of Advocate Gilani for directives to federal government to constitute a Board of the Bank at the earliest, the court plainly said after examining the Bank reply about employees relegation the court will decide about Board of Directors related matter.

Later, the bench extended restraining order in the matter saying,  “The respondents are restrained from making recoveries from the petitioners” and adjourned hearing of the matter till May 04.

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