SHC gives three months to Sindh govt to establish welfare fund for civil servants
SHC gives three months to Sindh govt to establish welfare fund for civil servants
SHC petition of govt employees

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday directed the provincial government to establish a welfare fund for civil servants of the province within three months.

The court also ordered the Murad Ali Shah-led government to arrange insurance for the provincial civil servants under sections 3 and 6 of “The Sindh Civil Servants Welfare Ordinance 1979” (SCSWO 1979).

The orders were issued while disposing of various identical petitions challenging delay in payment of claims of legal heirs of various deceased insured civil servants and holding back the claims of retired employees five-year after their retirement.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Salahuddin Panhwar, regretted that 50 years have passed since the legislation of the welfare fund was passed but it was yet to be established.

The petitioners submitted that as per rules the premium for the group insurance was being deducted from the salaries of the government employees according to their pay scale and they were insured during their service and up to five years of retirement. The petitioners stated the group insurance is meant for assurance of life and was to be paid to the civil servant’s legal heirs in event of his death.

They submitted State Life Insurance Corporation is dealing in the business and as per their policy, the premium whatsoever has to be paid by the assured person, the same is to be returned with full profit when the policy becomes mature.

Moreover, they stated, the State Life Insurance Corporation is under a legal obligation to return the amount of the government employees being obtained on account of the premium for a certain period, however the same has been usurped.

During the hearing, the provincial finance secretary stated that Sindh was providing the group insurance facilities to the legal heirs of the civil servants who expired during their service or five years after retirement up to the age of 65 years, as the case may be, in the light of the existing laws.

The petitioners also stated that the sum assured was greater than the contribution made on his behalf by the employees and the same was paid even if the entire contribution was not made during the employment or in case of the early death of such civil servants therefore no benefits including the maturity was admissible to the government servants on attaining the age of superannuation under the existing policy, but only the facility was provided in case of death during service or 5 years after retirement.

The bench in its judgment observed that SCSWO 1979 provided for the establishment of separate welfare boards of civil servants of up to grade 15 and of grade 16 and above as well as the welfare fund.

However, the bench noted the provincial finance secretary acknowledged that neither the boards nor the fund had been established so far and all the deductions were transferred to the general account of the Sindh government.

“Such acknowledgment, we shall emphasis, is not worth appreciating, because the same is likely to cause serious prejudice to the aim and the object of the fund as well the ordinance itself because the purpose and object whereof is not confined to the insurance of the civil servant but welfare and benefits of the civil servants and their families by using the available fund after paying premia,” the bench observed.

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