Setting a precedent in service matter on Monday the Supreme Court ruled that regularisation of a contract employee means a fresh appointment into the stream of regular appointment which does not apply retrospectively under the Punjab Regularization Policy 2010. A three-member bench of the Justice Manzoor Ahmad Malik has adjudicated over a question of law whether the date of regularisation of contract employees is the date of their initial appointment on contract basis or the date of their regularisation under the Regularization Policy 2010. Authorising a six-page verdict being part of the bench in the matter, Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah ruled, “Regularization of a contract employee is … a fresh appointment into the stream of regular appointments. A contractual employee for the first time becomes a civil servant,” It has been stated in the judgment that contractual employees enjoy no vested right to regularisation, much less to be regularized from any particular date. It said the benefit of regularisation under the Regularization Policy 2010 is prospective in nature and there is no legal justification to give it a retrospective application. “Any such step would totally negate the purpose and significance of Contract Appointment Policy and leave no distinction between a contractual and a regular employee,” the verdict said. The bench ruled that persons appointed on contract basis are not civil servants, therefore, their service matters are not governed by the rules framed under Civil Servants Act, 1974 as their appointment is strictly regulated by the terms and conditions of the contract. It has also been settled through the verdict that the Contract Appointment Policy was conceived after the government realised that regular mode of appointment is not suitable for most of the government sector assignments due to administrative and financial factors. “The rationale behind the contractual mode of appointment is based on financial and economic reasons, as well as, administrative reasons.” The court said according to the policy, the financial constraints of salary and pension under regular appointment had become unsustainable. According to the judgment, the contract appointment is strictly regulated by the terms and conditions of the contract. It said the period of contract is between three to five years whereas extension is generally granted for a period of three to five years and not for an indefinite period. It is pertinent to mention that as many as three dozen respondents were appointed on contract basis as veterinary officers in Grade-17 in Punjab Livestock and Dairy Development Department from 2004 to 2009. Their services were subsequently regularised with immediate effect via order dated 15.2.2011. The grievance of the respondents was that they ought to have been regularised from the date of their initial appointment on contractual basis rather than on February 15, 2011. Punjab Service Tribunal allowed regularisation of the services with effect from the date of their initial appointment on contract basis during October 2020. Hearing the Punjab government appeal in the matter , the bench has turned down the Punjab Service Tribunal order.