CJP says 7th Wage Board Award case to be decided according to law -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

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CJP says 7th Wage Board Award case to be decided according to law

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on Wednesday said that the case relating to 7th Wage Board Award would be decided shortly according to the law, irrespective of the consequences of the award’s implementation.

A three-member bench comprising of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani was hearing three Civil Petitions for Leave to Appeal (CPLA), filed by the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and others against the Sindh High Court (SHC) decision on the validity of the 7th Wage Board Award.

The counsel for APNS, Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, argued that hundreds of newspapers had shut down due to the implementation of the wage board award.

Responding to the argument, the CJP asked the counsel not to refer to that as a reason while observing that a large number of industrial units had been closed, adding that it did not imply that happened due to implementation of relevant laws. Organisations (including newspapersÂ’ publishers) do earn profits as well, he added.

While addressing Abdual Hafeez Pirzada, the CJP said that the present case would be decided under the Article 184(3) as requested by the appellants.

Pirzada appraised the court that there were two categories of journalists and said, “I will suggest my clients to give privileges to working journalists in accordance with the 7th wage board award.” The chief justice observed that hawkers also played an important role in the media industry saying that if they did not deliver newspapers, media organisations would not be able to do business.

Hafeez Pirzada pleaded that government was the biggest advertiser in the country, adding that since 2001 after announcement of Wage Board Award there had been no increase in advertisement rates from the government.

He added that nobody had denied annual increment because presently journalists were receiving two or three times more than promised in the 7th Wage Board Award in 2000, adding that many journalists had opted for contract payment in which the process of increment is automatic.

Pirzada contended that 7th Wage Board Award notification was issued under Section 9 (1) of Minimum Wages Act, adding that the Section was un-constitutional. The CJP inquired if there was any proof that the Section 9(1) was challenged by the APNS for remedy at time of its promulgation.

On the occasion, SCBA President Asma Jahangir informed the bench that journalists were not being given the same packages because editors were receiving more, adding that was a question of pick and choose.

The CJP observed, “We have to keep in our mind that fixation of wages between journalists and non-journalists is an administrative act.” The bench directed the APNS counsel to furnish his argument within two days. The court adjourned the hearing till September 28.
Source: Daily Times