Civil servants not bound to obey 'illegal' orders, rules SC
13 November, 2012
ISLAMABAD: Issuing judgement in a case regarding protection of jobs of civil servants, the Supreme Court has observed civil servants owe their first and foremost allegiance to the law and the constitution and are not bound to obey illegal orders from superiors or the ones not in accordance with accepted practices and rule-based norms.
A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain – after taking suo motu notice of the assault on a polling staff by PPP candidate Waheeda Shah in Tando Muhammad Khan –had reserved the judgement, which was announced on Monday. Justice Khawaja has authored the verdict.
The court took suo motu notice on an application filed by District Management Group (DMG) officer Anita Turab. It stated, "Most civil servants wish to work in an environment where their self-respect and dignity is not made vulnerable by all and sundry."
The judgement said appointments, removals and promotions must be made in accordance with the law and rules and where no such law or rules existed and the matter was left to discretion, such discretion must be exercised in a structured, transparent and reasonable manner and in the public interest.
The court noted that when the ordinary tenure for posting of an officer had been specified in the law or rules made, the tenure must be respected and cannot be varied, except for compelling reasons, which should be recorded in writing and are judicially reviewable.
It said the officers should not be posted as officers on special duty (OSD) except for compelling reasons, which must be recorded in writing and are judicially reviewable. If at all an officer is to be posted as OSD, such posting should be for the minimum period possible and if there is a disciplinary inquiry going on against him, such inquiry must be completed at the earliest, it added.
The order stated civil servants who acted according to law, at times, had to face hardships in the form of immediate transfer or posting as OSD even before the completion of their tenure. It was also noticed frequent transfers, postings and disciplinary proceedings are taken in violation of the law, rules and regulations.