ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Friday dismissed the Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation employees’ petition and directed them to approach relevant fora established under constitution and law.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan and Justice Qazi Faez Isa on June 24 after hearing the arguments of the PSMC employees’ counsel had reserved the judgment.

Barrister Ali Zafar, on behalf of the Pakistan Steel Peoples Workers Union, had filed the petition under Article 184(3) of Constitution for the payment of salary, to settle all liabilities toward provident and gratuity funds, appointment of competent CEO, and supply of gas Steel Mills by Sui Southern Gas Company.

The judgment authored by Justice Ejaz said: “Pakistan Steel Mills Corporation is a huge enterprise. No mega or minor project in the country is conceivable without steel mills, therefore, it is hub of our economy and backbone of the Republic.”

The court noted due to prudent management the small foundries in private sector grew into big industrial concerns in our country and TATA, a renowned name in steel industry, attained an enviable status in the neighbouring country.

The court further noted that not only PSMC is in the lurch, but the Pakistan International Airlines, which was one of the best airlines of the world, is also in similar straits. “What to do and how to do is the domain of the executive and the legislature,” it added.

It said the executive could take stock of the situation, examine the causes of their failure and find ways and means to bring them out of such straits while the parliament could legislate to deal with the problems besetting the corporations if the existing dispensation in its wisdom is not equal to the occasion.

The judgment said that payment of salary to the employees of PSMC and settlement of all liabilities towards provident and gratuity funds could better be agitated in and addressed by the fora established under law.  “Isolating the question of salary from other disputed questions and addressing it in a petition under Article 184(3) of the Constitution would compound and multiply the problem manifold when PSMC has already come to a grinding halt,” it added.

It said no order terminating the services of the employees, laying them off, deducting their allowances or changing terms and conditions of their service has yet been passed, therefore, petitioner under Article 184(3) of the Constitution on this score would be premature. In case there is any such apprehension in the minds of the employees, they could if so advised approach the High Court and ask for the issuance of a writ of prohibition or any other writ under Article 199 of the Constitution.

Regarding disconnection notice issued to the PSMC on account of non-payment of the gas charges, the court said that too could not be examined by this apex court under Article 184(3) when it besides being factual also involves determination of liability of the petitioner.

The judgment said that in the cases of I A Sharwani and others. Vs. Government of Pakistan through Secretary, Finance Division, Islamabad and others, Mahmood Khan Achakzai Vs. Federation of Pakistan and others, Wattan Party through President Vs Federation of Pakistan through Cabinet Committee of Privatization, Islamabad and others, Dr. Akhtar Hassan Khan and others Vs. Federation of Pakistan and others, Alleged Corruption in Rental Power Plants etc. and Zafar Iqbal Jhagra and another vs. Federation of Pakistan and others (supra) this Court intervened as neither any other adequate remedy was available to the aggrieved persons nor any factual controversy was involved.