The MQM had wanted the bill to be sent to the relevant standing committee for improvements, however it was passed unanimously. PHOTO: ONLINE
KARACHI: Sindh Assembly passed on Thursday the Sindh Workers Compensation Bill, 2015. The law has been passed in view of the 18th Constitutional Amendment which paved the way to devolve the subject to provinces.
Senior minister for parliamentary affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said in case of any incident that causes injury, disability or death of workers, the employer is bound to pay compensation to the workers or their legal heirs.
The opposition parties also supported the bill but demanded to refer it to a standing committee for improvements and input from labourers’ representative organisations as the bill was a mere copy of the federal government’s act on the same issue.
“In the last session you had withdrawn the bill from the agenda and wanted to refer it to the standing committee but, unfortunately, you have moved it without making changes,” said Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) parliamentary leader Sardar Ahmed.
The government, however passed the bill, saying the lawmakers can make amendments to it later on.
A list of injuries deemed to result in permanent disability has been provided in the first schedule of the bill. The loss of both hands, one hand or a foot and absolute deafness will be considered permanent disability and employers have to pay Rs0.5 million in compensation to the victims.
The same amount will be provided to a deceased worker’s family. According to Khuhro, the incumbent government has enhanced the amount from the previous Rs0.2 million to Rs0.5 million.
The law stated that after every six months, employers will have to send details to the labour department about the number of injuries to workers and compensation paid.
The various categories of compensation have also been listed in case of any disease arising from official activities, such as those caused by various chemicals.
If any factory or company fails to implement the law, the government will impose a penalty, which may extend to Rs50,000, the bill states. “No civil court shall have jurisdiction to settle or decide or deal with any question which is under this act. All issues will be dealt by the compensation commissioner,” it states.
The assistant director of the labour department will work as the compensation commissioner. After a brief discussion, the bill was passed unanimously.
‘Criminals’ in police ranks
Moving a call-attention notice, MQM lawmaker Kamran Akhtar asked the home minister about the ‘illegal’ recruitment of 155 policemen in Hyderabad and their dismissal. “Later, 22 of them were reinstated,” alleged Akhtar.
As the home minister was not present in the house, Khuhro claimed 167 were hired and then discharged after errors were found in their birth dates and added that those whose documents were found accurate upon inquiry were later reinstated.
Later, the MQM protested inside the assembly following deputy speaker Shehla Raza’s argument with party members over a bill on the Karachi Institute of Technology and Entrepreneurship. As Khuhro attempted to move the bill, opposition leader Khawaja Izharul Hasan pointed out that opposition members have a majority in the house. “I request you to please start a head count before passing the bill.”
The deputy speaker adjourned the session till Friday afternoon.