Apex court suspends high court's stay on doctors' appointments

Published: July 28, 2017

KARACHI: The Supreme Court (SC) allowed on Thursday the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) to continue the process of appointing 6,500 doctors in the province.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, while passing this order, suspended the stay granted by the Sindh High Court (SHC) against the doctors’ appointments through competitive examination.

The provincial government had appealed on June 30 against the order passed by a SHC division bench, which restrained the SPSC from proceeding with fresh appointments of doctors till further orders.

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The advocate-general (AG), Barrister Zamir Ghumro, told the apex court that some 31 candidates who had passed the competitive exam for the appointment of the doctors two years ago had obtained the stay against fresh appointments.

The AG argued that at present, there were 6,683 posts ofdoctors lying vacant in the province and the SHC’s stay order had halted the process to fill them, which was adding to the problems of the government as well as the public.

After hearing initial arguments, the bench issued notices to the respondents to file their comments. In the meantime, the apex court suspended operation of the SHC’s June 30 order. However, the judges directed the AG to ensure that the 31 candidates, who had obtained the stay from the SHC may also be called for interviews and considered for appointment in accordance with the law.

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Case history

The SHC had issued restraining order on a petition filed by a man, Abdullah, who claimed fresh appointments were being made by ignoring the successful candidates.

He contended that the provincial government had decided to appoint 6,500 doctors in the health department through the public service commission. However, such appointments were being made by ignoring more than 300 candidates who had already successfully passed the examinations conducted by the SPSC.

The petitioner told the SHC that at least 6,000 candidates had qualified in the written examination held by the SPSC in 2016, adding that the selection committee, headed by the former chairperson of the commission, declared 50% of the candidates successful in viva voce.

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Abdullah mentioned that he was among the qualified candidates, but the authorities had initiated fresh process of hiring doctors while ignoring those who were declared successful in the past. This will deprive the successful candidates of their right to get job, he argued, adding that the authorities were acting in sheer violation of the constitutional provisions that ensure that the eligible candidates get jobs on merit.

Therefore, the court was pleaded to direct the respondents, including the provincial chief secretary and SPSC chairperson, to consider those who had passed the commission exam in the past for appointment.

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