Over 108 senior agricultural scientists are being denied their rightful entitlement for the grant of one pre-mature increment on up-gradation. These scientists working under different directorates of the research wing of the agriculture department of Punjab in a signed application have demanded implementation of the same policy as it has been adopted for a civil servant, which was issued by finance department Punjab for the grant of one special advance increment in their up-graded pay scale with effect from September 1, 20017.
They regretted that despite the directives of the Governor and Chief Minister of Punjab regarding grant of one pre-mature or one special advance increment to the aggrieved class of senior agricultural scientists on their up-gradation with effect from February 2009, they are being denied the benefit.
These directives, however, have proved ineffective as the request in this connection by the administrative department (agriculture department) was declined by the finance department in March 2012 without mentioning any reason or quoting any lawful reference, which according to agricultural scientists, is clear violation of articles 4 and 25 of the constitution of Pakistan which related to the principle of equality and uniform policy of equal protection. Lawfully, this decision of disapproval taken by the finance department has no legal value, they said.
The plea for entitlement of the said relief had also been decided by the Supreme Court of Pakistan while delivering a judgement on January 28, 2002 passed in appeal no. 637 of 1998 that up-gradation is tantamount to promotion. In the light of these orders, Federal Service Tribunal (FST), Lahore had also given a judgement in November 2011 in a similar appeal. Relying on the Supreme Court’s judgement, the FST had directed the respondents to grant one pre-mature increment on up-gradation.
Agricultural scientists have pointed out that in compliance of FST directives, finance division, Islamabad had in May 2012 given its concurrence to the grant of pre-mature increment on up-gradation to the successful litigant in the aforementioned appeals. The claim of the said aggrieved class of agricultural scientists is the same. The same view on this law point had been followed by the FST.
On up-gradation of the said cadre posts in different wings of the agriculture department, these agriculture scientists were also upgraded, accordingly, their pay was made by respective district accounts officers in such a manner that the substantive pay as well as special pay of agricultural scientists was fixed only against the stage of grade-18 without allowing them the benefit of one pre-mature increment in their up-graded pay scale (BS-18) with effect from the date of up-gradation, ie February 17, 2009.
These agricultural scientists are well experienced researchers of the agriculture department. They were promoted earlier in the supervisory cadre posts (BS-17 + Rs 150/- pm as special pay which were later up-graded into BS-18 cadre posts w.e.f February 17, 2009.). They have worked and executed their important administrative responsibilities and made valuable contribution in the implementation of massive investment research plans developed for the evolvement of production technologies for different food and fibre crops by mobilising the land, water and crop genetic resources for achieving the noble goals of sustainable economic development and to bring a revolution towards then prosperity of the country.
In view of the hardships of senior agricultural scientists in terms of incurring pecuniary losses, they have appealed that necessary orders be issued for grant of one pre-mature increment/or one special advance increment to the aggrieved class of scientists.