LAHORE The Lahore High Court has held that government has no right to terminate contractual employee on charges of misconduct without affording him an opportunity to defend him. Justice Hafiz Tariq Nasim of the LHC observed, "There is no dispute that a contract employee cannot retain in service for indefinite period and above the contract time. But simultaneously it is well settled law that if the termination order is of a simple termination then of course the aggrieved person cannot agitate it. But if the termination order attaches stigma, the employee should not have been condemned unheard." The judge gave these rulings while setting aside termination of a contractual employee of the LESCO, and ordered his reinstatement into service with all back benefits. Petitioner Rai Zahid Ahmad Kharal was appointed as assistant manager (Operation) under the LESCO on January 03, 2006 and on July 17, 2007 a statement of allegation under Removal from Service (Special Powers) Ordinance, 2000 was issued against him. An inquiry was conducted which was later by the competent authorities closed as nothing was found against the petitioner. However, on March, 28, 2008 another inquiry committee was constituted to probe into a fatal accident of a lineman James Masih wherein the petitioner was also involved. The inquiry was started but during the course of inquiry the petitioner was terminated on account of misconduct. Counsel Sarfraz Ahmad Cheema submitted that as the petitioner was a contractual employee, he could not invoke the jurisdiction of Services Tribunal and moved to the high court through a writ petition. Counsel argued that the petitioner was subjected to discrimination and victimisation as the impugned order was passed in colourable exercise of powers practiced by the competent authority. Counsel for respondent-LESCO submitted that the petitioner was involved in so many illegalities and irregularities of serious nature. He said the company took the lenient view on different occasions and closed the inquiry proceedings against petitioner but the petitioner did not stop his misdoings. Citing a reported case, the judge observed that according to the judgment of SC "even a contract employee cannot be terminated without the recourse of regular inquiry if his termination is on account of some misconduct." The judge observed that in the instant case the plain language of the termination order conveyed a clear message that the petitioner was removed on the basis of misconduct. After examining the circumstances, no other conclusion can be drawn except that the petitioner was of course was made a subject of different allegations and without concluding the inquiry he was terminated without giving a fair chance to defend, judge wrote in his order while terming the termination procedure as an easy way to get rid of the petitioner. The judge disposed of the petition while directing the department to reinstate the petitioner with all back benefits, however, said the competent authority could pass a fresh order strictly in accordance with law.