The Supreme Court admitted a petition on Thursday against the Sindh High Court’s (SHC) decision to grant permanent status to Grade-16 and above government employees, who were regularised without passing the now defunct Public Service Commission test.
A three-member bench led by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed and comprising Justice Ijazul Ahsan and Justice Qazi Muhammad Amin Ahmed, issued notices to all parties seeking their replies.
The bench was hearing the case at the SC’s Karachi registry, and the questions raised were,
“Is the government adopting two different methods for appointments and regularisation of officers?” questioned the CJP.
“This way, anyone will be made an officer. How can the officers be made permanent without passing [the commission’s test]?” asked Justice Ahsan.
He also questioned the government’s overstepping of the law through this move. The bench believed there would be a discriminatory attitude towards officers who passed the public service commission test. The court observed that both eligible and ineligible officers would become equal.
“All officers are being granted permanent status in the provinces without passing the public service commission test,” said the Sindh advocate-general. “This practice is not being adopted in Sindh. The case should be heard in Islamabad and the opinions of all provinces should be sought. A special committee should be formed which can hire the officers on merit,” he contended.
Justice Ahsan asked how many officers had secured promotions without a public service commission test. The advocate-general replied that nearly 2,000 officers would be affected in Sindh. The bench issued notices to the parties directing them to submit their respective replies and prepare arguments.
Illegal grid station
Hearing a petition moved by citizens against the K-Electric’s grid station in Mehmoodabad, the same bench termed the grid station illegal and ordered its removal within two months. The petitioners’ counsel maintained that 10 acres of land was allocated in PECHS Phase VI, Mehmoodabad, for a green belt. The PECHS authorities gave the property to K-Electric and the green belt has no link with the society, he said, adding that the property belongs to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC).
The CJP observed that the KE grid station was built on the green belt and it should be removed.
The bench also directed the KMC to restore the green belt to its original state and to build a park on the land. Commercial activities cannot be permitted on land reserved for a green belt, remarked the CJP.
Non-payment of dues
Separately, on a petition moved by a former manager of the House Building Finance Company (HBFC), the apex court ordered the payment of retirement dues and profits generated from 2016 to date.
The court expressed annoyance over the non-payment of compensation to the former manager. “You have no consideration that you have blocked their legal right,” the court said.
“Who gave you the authority to block someone’s legal right?” the CJP remarked.
The bench directed the immediate release of dues payable to the former manager, Allah Bux. During the hearing, Bux told the court that he had withdrawn his voluntary retirement, but HBFC refused to accept his decision.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18h, 2021.