ISLAMABAD: The apex court took the finance ministry to task for violating the prime minister’s orders by persistently denying monetary benefits to BPS 17 officers.
The BPS 17 superintendents were receiving the same monetary benefits as the BPS 16 officers.
The two-judge bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmad and Justice Umar Ata Bandial, while rejecting the finance ministry’s plea against Federal Services Tribunal’s (FST) verdict, directed the finance secretary to conduct an inquiry as to how and under whose direction was the office memorandum dated September 10, 2014 issued, which apparently is in flagrant violation of the prime minister’s orders.
The bench further asked the secretary to take strict action against those found involved in this injustice and submit a compliance report to the registrar for perusal in the chambers.
“We expect the finance secretary to complete the task within a period of four months and submit a report accordingly,” said the bench in its four-page order.
The legal experts said in view of the verdict, every superintendent will be entitled to get monetary benefits of BPS 17 after three years of satisfactory service in BPS 16.
In pursuance of the FSC’s April 25, 2012 verdict, the establishment division on July 4, 2012 floated an office memorandum, wherein it was proposed that one time grant of BPS-17 may be allowed to all superintendents working in BPS-16 irrespective of their length of service. “After three years of satisfactory service as superintendent (BPS 16) grant of BPS 17 can be prescribed,” it stated. Later, the office memorandum was approved by the prime minister.
However, another office memorandum dated September 10, 2014 was issued by the finance division (regulation wing), signed by section officer Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed, which says that the recruitment rules, nomenclature of the posts and seniority of the superintendents shall remain intact.
Secondly, the grant of higher time scale will be subject to the fitness of candidate and recommendations of the relevant Departmental Promotion Committee. Likewise, on grant of higher time scale, pay will be fixed at the next above stage in BPS 17 and no premature increment is admissible. On grant of higher time scale, there shall be no change in the entitlement, admissibility of rental ceiling, house rent allowance and medical allowance, says the finance ministry’s office memorandum.
Later, the finance ministry while challenging the FST’s March 3, 2016 order stated that Muhammad Ismail and other superintendents were not authorised to get all benefits of BPS 17 in view of the ministry’s office memorandum dated September 10, 2014.
The bench while passing order has observed that the finance ministry had issued office memorandum dated September 10, 2014 without approval of the prime minister.
The order says that the conditions introduced in the office memorandum of September 10, 2014 were not a part of approval granted by the premier and this has subsequently been added by the finance division (regulation wing) on its own.
The court has also observed that it reflects that some higher authority above the prime minister has imposed these conditions, which otherwise were not mentioned in the approval.
“This seems to not only be contemptuous to the order of the prime minister but is a case of serious insubordination in the office memorandum dated September 10, 2014,” says the judgment.
Later, the SC declared the finance ministry’s appeal against FST’s order as ‘frivolous’, and dismissed it.