Supreme Court rejects appeal pleas against wage board award

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed all appeals against the 7th Wage Board Award, upholding a decision of the Sindh High Court.

A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Ghulam Rabbani announced its verdict in the open Court.

The Chief Justice announcing the verdict said that the decision of the Sindh High Court would hold the field unless modifications to Newspaper Employees (Condition of Service) Act 1973 (NECoSA) were made. The pleas were dismissed with costs.

It was said in the decision that wage board award law does not run contrary to the constitution and Law of Newspaper Employees Contract Service Act 1973 is in complete conformity with the constitution.

It was further laid down in the verdict that 7th wage board award was completely effective and board can make any change or amendment in the award if it wants to do so. Otherwise the award will remain effective. Therefore, wage board award be given to the journalists.

It may be recalled that wage board award was constituted in 2001 and it was declared effective from July 2001. The case was running in the court and owners of newspapers had filed appeals against it.

Meanwhile President Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), Idrees Bakhtiar, and Secretary General Mian Rifaat Qadri have welcomed the Supreme Court’s judgment over 7th wage board award, and termed it victory for journalist community.

In a statement, they said that journalists are the backbone of media industry, and after implementation of wage board award, various longstanding problems being faced by journalists would be resolved, which would ultimately benefit the journalism industry.

They hoped that the newspapers owners would implement the apex court’s judgment in its letter and spirit.

President Asif Ali Zardari and Minister for Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan felicitated the journalist fraternity on winning court battle for the 7th Wage Board Award, expressing the hope that it would now be implemented in letter and spirit.

Wage Board Award is a committee/board that is formed by the Government of Pakistan for the purpose of fixing the rates of wages for journalists in the country. The board is constituted after each five years. Up till now seven boards have been formed.