Two ad-hoc employees of Punjab government filed separate petitions in Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking regularisation of services under The Punjab Regularisation of Services Act, 2018, which turned out to be a legislation in Pakistan’s Punjab. Acting on the twin petitions, the HC issued a routine notice to the Punjab government, seeking a reply.
The state’s personnel department officials found that the Act referred to in the petitions was passed by Eastern Punjab province across the border. The case comes up for hearing on October 11.
Jai Verdhan Sharma (38) and Jaspreet Kaur, who were appointed clerks in district session judge’s court in Sangrur in 2012 and 2013, respectively, moved petitions on May 28 seeking regularisation of their services under Pakistan’s Act and The Punjab Adhoc Contractual, Daily Wage, Temporary, Work Charged and Outsources Employees Welfare Act, 2016. On June 11, the HC issued notice of motion to the state government in Sharma’s case, and on July 4, in Kaur’s case. The HC asked the government to file a reply two-three days in advance.
While mentioning the Pakistani Act, the petitioners stated they were seeking regularisation of their services under the Act, notified on April 30, as they fulfiil all the conditions.
The case file reached the departments of home and law affairs and personnel subsequently. The entire Pakistan Act was enclosed as an annexure with the petition. The personnel department, which was preparing a note on whether the duo’s services could be regularised under these two Acts, were surprised to see that Punjab had not passed any such Act that was notified on April 30.
It was the word “provincial” written in the Act that helped officials solve the mystery. “The Eastern Punjab Act did not have the word Pakistan anywhere. There was a confusion till we read it carefully and found the word ‘province’. We have states, and not provinces. The mystery was solved,” said an official.
The department is now preparing a reply writing that “the Punjab Regularisation of Services Act, 2018, is not Punjab state Act”.
Kaur told The Indian Express that she was not very aware of Acts. Sharma said, “We will take up the matter with the lawyer.”
Lalit Rishi, lawyer of the petitioners, said he had Googled Punjab’s Acts for regularisation of services. “There was no mention of Pakistan in the entire Act.”