ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) asked the secretary of the Ministry of Interior and the chief of National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) to file replies within a fortnight on a petition challenging the age limit advertised for appointment of chairman Nadra.
Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui issued these notices during the hearing of the the petition filed by Lt-Col (retd) Muhammad Talha Saeed a couple of days ago.
Meanwhile, the court restrained the authorities concerned from notifying the final candidate till a decision in this regard, but allowed them to continue the selection process and other formalities.
Saeed, through his counsel Barrister Khurram Hashmi, challenged the advertisement for the post of chairman Nadra. He requested the court to declare it illegal as it imposed a maximum age limit of 55 years on prospective applicants.
The petitioner contended that he had been working as director-general NADRA’s Registration Directorate since 2011, adding that he also served on various post in the authority since 2000.
Hashmi said that Saeed was inducted into Nadra on a regular basis as Director BPS-19 in 2003. He served as Community Welfare Attaché between 2005 and 2011 in London when a dispute arose about his seniority.
Hashmi added that he was promoted to the post of Director-General in BPS-20 in 2012, but the date of said promotion did not take into account his foreign deputation. As a result, officers junior to the petitioner were promoted much before him.
The petitioner maintained that he filed a representation before the chairman NADRA, but it was decided against him. Later, he filed a departmental appeal which was decided in his favour.
He said that the age limit for the post was fixed arbitrarily at 55, which he had now exceeded.
To exclude qualified candidates from applying against a post purely on the basis of age limit without offering any justification or reasoning was violative of the principles of fair play and the norms of justice, he said.
Hashmis cited decisions of superior courts in the United States and the United Kingdom, saying that they consistently held that no form of discrimination on the basis of age was permissible with regard to employment.