Civil servants case: IHC sets aside selection board recommendation

Published: September 28, 2018
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PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

PHOTO: IHC WEBSITE

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court set aside on Thursday the recommendations of the Central Selection Board (CSB) to supersede and defer the promotion of dozens of senior bureaucrats.

“The recommendations by the CSB and/or by the Competent Authority qua the deferment or supersession of the petitioner’s as the case may be are set aside with the direction, that the petitioners shall be considered afresh in light of the law pronounced by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of Pakistan from time to time,” IHC’s Justice Aamer Farooq stated in the order.

In the judgment, Justice Farooq stated that respondents are expected to follow the dicta of the Supreme Court, wherein, various directions have been issued, which are either by-passed or are avoided under one pretext or the other without formation of transparent promotion policy in light of the referred pronouncements.

The judge said that it is expected that the federal government/establishment division shall look into the matter and do the needful, so as to put an end to the recurrent litigation on part of aggrieved civil servants.

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The judgment ruled that the prayer regarding setting aside Office Memorandum (O.M) dated June 18, 2017 is turned down. Though the court has dismissed three petitions, however, it has directed that the petitioners in the said petitions shall be considered for promotion in accordance with law, if they are eligible for the same.

All the petitioners are civil servants who were aggrieved of either supersession or deferment despite the fact that they have achieved the threshold aggregate.

Besides claiming discrimination, the officers deprived promotions in grade 20 and 21 had also challenged an Office Memorandum evolved by the establishment division just before convening of the CSB.

In almost all cases, the judgment read, the petitioners have obtained the threshold aggregate, however, were placed in category-C as they scored less than five marks. According to the deputy attorney general, the categorisation of civil servants into category-C is based on the record i.e. dossier and other documents on the file of a civil servant and pursuant to the said documents CSB in its collective wisdom placed the civil servants into category-C.

Justice Farooq stated that the referred argument is not tenable and hence is spurned in as much as it is anomalous that an individual achieves the requisite threshold. That is in the case of civil servant in BS-19, who is to be promoted to BS-20, 70 per cent marks or more and in the case of promotion from BS-20 to BS-21, 75 per cent or more on the basis of documents on record, however, when marks are to be awarded on the basis of same documents by CSB Members in their discretion place a civil servant in category-C.

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“CSB has not acted while placing the petitioners in category-C in a reasonable manner and has exercised discretion arbitrarily and unreasonably,” he noted. He added that this court directed Establishment Division to declare that discretion of CSB is illegal and superficial, in as much as, as noted above a civil servant achieving marks more than threshold on the basis of record fails to obtain qualifying marks when Objective Assessment is made by CSB on the basis of same record is irrational, unreasonable and improper exercise of discretion.

“In view of the above facts and legal position the recommendations/decisions to defer the petitioners or supersede them are not tenable. However, the O.M dated 18.06.2017 does not suffer from any infirmity,” he ruled.

 

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