SC declares promotion of 80 civil servants void
04 October, 2013
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday declared the promotion of 80 bureaucrats as null and void and ordered the government to undertake an exercise to outline the objective criteria for promotions to make the civil servants honest officers free of political pressure.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Azmat Saeed and Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry, announced the reserved judgment in the civil servants promotion case.
The petition was filed by noted columnist Orya Maqbool Jan who had challenged the promotion of officers from Grade 20 to 21. The promotions were made in the tenure of former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and were approved by Secretary Establishment Taimur Azmat Usman.
The 40-page judgment, authored by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, directed the government to set up the board again to promote officers on merit.
"The promotion from BS-20 to BPS-21 against available vacancies has to be made in accordance with reserved quota for the promotion of different groups as a result whereof instead of cancelling the promotion of the officers from Sr No 57 to 80 all cases of promotion against 88 vacancies of BS-21 are hereby cancelled being void and unlawful," says the judgment.
The court ordered that a fresh exercise has to be undertaken along with the cases of the civil servants which have been remanded by the Lahore High Court (LHC) in Liaquat Ali Chugtai's case (PLD 2013 Lahore 413) and the cases decided by Islamabd High Court (IHC) in W P No 3483/2011.
The court also set aside the notification of promotion of all the officers issued in pursuance of the recommendations of CSB held on 11th-14th February and 27th February, 2013 with direction to the competent authority to undertake the process of promotion to all of them strictly in accordance with law on merit under Section 9 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973, read with rules 7, 7A and 8 of the Civil Servants (Appointments, Promotions and Transfers) Rules, 1973 as well as Promotion Policy as amended up to date, vide O M dated 13.1.2013.
The court observed that the role of officers relating to the management in Government of Pakistan, notwithstanding whether they belong to PAS or Secretariat Group or any other group, the fact remains that the individual of such cadre play a decisive role in shaping the destiny of the nation.
The petitioner had approached the apex court under Article 184(3) of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 for the enforcement of fundamental rights, involving question of public importance of outlining an objective criteria for promotions to make the civil service rewarding for honest officers and free of political pressures.
He had complained to the court about non-recommendation of his name, along with so many other officers, for promotion from BPS 20 to 21, by the Central Selection Board (CSB), in its meeting held on 11-14.02.2013 and 27.02.2013.
The petitioner had claimed that he along with other officers was eligible for promotion but their cases were deferred or postponed for want of transparent objective criteria embodied in principle of rewarding honest officers instead of penalising them by withholding their due rights contrary to articles 3, 9 and 14 of the Constitution.
He had prayed to the apex court for a free and fair enquiry of the assets of the civil servants in promotion zone and their families by comparing with their assets at the time when they joined the service.
"Their lifestyle, expenses on children's education, on children's marriages, foreign tours, etc., should be taken into account to measure the level of corruption and honesty," the petitioner had submitted, adding that the inquiry should be made by an independent body or commission constituted by the apex court. The assets of all the civil servants should be open to public scrutiny.
He had further prayed that to check the political affiliations and to make the bureaucracy fair and free of political affiliations, efficiency should be linked with the level of independence an officer has secured during his service. He had further prayed that the entire career record of each civil servant should be scrutinised before promotion, to check as to who enjoyed better posting in which political party's tenure.
"This will certainly present a clear picture of a majority of civil servants divided/loyal to different political groups, leaving a few independent and honourable officers aside," the petitioner had contended.
Orya Maqbool Abbasi joined government service on 18.10.1984 in the District Management Group (now "Pakistan Administrative Service" PAS). He was promoted to BPS-18 in the year 1990, BPS-19 in the year 1998 and BPS-20 in the year 2006. For the purpose of promotion of the petitioner along with others from Grade 20 to 21, a meeting of Central Selection Board (CSB) was held on 03.10.2011, but the petitioner among others was not recommended for promotion.