The capital’s civic agency has initiated the process of repatriation of nearly 42 officers and officials, who joined the authority in past on deputation basis, and were later absorbed into service.
The decision was taken in the backdrop of a recent order by the Supreme Court, where the apex court had asked city managers to submit a concise statement mentioning if the Capital Development Authority (CDA) Board had the power to absorb officers working at the civic agency on a deputation basis.
Citing two different judgments of the Sindh High Court over a similar issue, the apex court, in its short order, dubbed “prima facie all these absorptions are violative of the principles laid down in (Sindh High Court) judgments”.
A matter of concern for city managers is that the CDA Service Regulation has no mention of any criteria over the issue of induction or absorption. And in past, the board approved such absorptions using its discretionary powers, which are now under question.
“To avoid any action against former board members in connection with past absorptions, the CDA board has now decided to send back all such officers to their parent departments,” said one of the senior board members, who declined to be named.
The order was passed in a suo motu case related to illegal promotions of hundreds of CDA staffers, and the up-gradation of various posts by previous CDA managements, succumbing to illegal demands by the authority’s labour union.
Like other government departments, the CDA also hires the services of officers on deputation-basis from other organisations to run its affairs.
In the past, the board adopted a procedure where if the educational qualification and previous experience of some deputationist matches the post against which the officer is appointed, then he or she can permanently be absorbed into the CDA’s service under a direct appointment.
However, the authority’s service regulation makes no mention of such inductions, and in the past, these 42 officers and officials was inducted by the CDA Board under its discretionary powers.
Ministries, depts receive letters
Following the decision, the CDA has written letters to parent departments of such officials, asking them to withdraw no objections certificates they issued while surrendering services of their officials to the CDA.
“It is requested that NOC may kindly be withdrawn so the officer could be repatriated to his parent department,” read 42 separate notifications with similar wording issued by the authority on April 8.
In the letters, the CDA has told ministries and departments that the SC has declared the absorption of the deputationists’ “illegal” and in violation of the mandate and parameters laid down in two separate judgments of the Sindh High Court, passed in 2013 and 2015, respectively.
The officers who will be affected by the decision include 29 officers of basic scale 17 and above, and 13 officials of grade 16 and below. The majority of such officers are currently working against senior positions due to the ineptness of CDA-cadre officers, who are usually hired on political basis rather than following merit
Similar action will be taken to bring back 30 officers and officials of the CDA service who are currently working on deputation in other government departments. A senior CDA law wing officer said the authority, instead of defending these absorptions in its report, will inform officers they will be repatriated soon.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 11th, 2016.