Establishment Division faces a tightrope walk

Cases of some 1,000 bureaucrats up for review


Riazul Haq May 15, 2017

ISLAMABAD: After a recent decision of the Supreme Court, and a similar case pending with the Islamabad High Court, the Establishment Division is in a fix over holding the Central Selection Board (CSB) for about 1,000 bureaucrats.

In April, the apex court moved to suspend the Central Selection Board (CSB) constituted in 2015, revoked its recommendations and ordered the Establishment Division that all officers deferred or superseded could be considered for promotion again.

It also ordered that those promoted in that board would maintain their new positions.

The court ordered the Establishment Division to withdraw the overriding effect of five marks assigned for ‘integrity’ and ‘reputation’.

The court ordered that the revised CSB should be completed and concluded within 10 weeks from April 13, 2017, by the end of June.

Correcting a wrong: SC upholds IHC decision to promote 300 officers
The Establishment Division is considering various options to abide by the apex court’s orders and hold the CSB in a way that it is not challenged again.

The tightrope walk will not be easy: a new Office Memorandum is also being considered in this regard as the ones issued in 2012-14 had been widely criticised and led to the filing of hundreds of court cases across the country.

“We are considering issuing a new office memorandum in line with the apex court’s directions,” said a senior officer privy to the developments.

On the other hand the cases pending with the Islamabad High Court (IHC) are another cause of concern for the Establishment Division as promotions by the CSB of 2016 were also challenged.

IHC issues notices to secretary establishment division

“We are now eyeing the IHC … it will soon decide about the CSB 2016 … it is the similar case and we want the issue to be resolved, allowing top bureaucrats to implement the SC order,” another senior official said, adding that they were hoping for an early decision in this regard.

In the CSB of 2015 about 1,100 officers were considered and 470 were promoted. Since then, as many as 30 senior officers working in grade-21 had also retired.

Almost a similar number of officers were promoted in 2016 under the controversial office memorandum of 2014. The IHC is likely to strike it down just like 2015 CSB.

So, a new CSB would consider about 2,000 civil servants, a mammoth task for the Establishment Division.

A great problem faced by the Establishment Division is how to carry out the process of pre- and post-CSB in the presence of those already promoted as they could influence the entire process.

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A recent Establishment Division move gives credence to this issue: relevant ministries have already been asked to submit updated proposals … containing latest status, including disciplinary proceedings against all officers who were considered for promotions in the CSB meeting held in May 2015.”

Many termed the notification a futile attempt as many civil servants expecting promotions feared that inviting Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) of those who were previously overlooked was unfair and that the new reports had nothing to do with promotions of 2015.

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