The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday further stayed fresh promotions being given to all the officers, whose out-of-turn promotions were withdrawn on directions of the Supreme Court, allegedly in violation of the laws, till August 16.
Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, while heading a single bench, directed Sindh IGP Shahid Nadeem Baloch to file his comments on such promotions by the next date.
A sub-inspector of the Crime Investigation Department, Chaudhry Arif Hussain, had gone to court challenging a standing order passed by the Sindh police chief. He had also cited the provincial chief secretary, and the secretaries of home, services and general administration departments and the Sindh IGP as respondents.
According to the petitioner, the police chief’s standing order allowed promotions to the demoted police officials by granting them exemptions from mandatory training courses and relaxations in age. The petitioner informed that the police chief had ordered demotions of officers working in various categories in the police department through an official order issued on March 23, 2012.
In August 2011, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of targeted killings in the city, which was going through one of its bloodiest summers. The apex court’s five-member bench had given a detailed judgment to bring peace, such as the withdrawal of the controversial out-of-turn promotions of police officers.
Apparently to circumvent the SC order, the provincial government had passed Sindh Civil Services (Amendment) Act 2013 legalising shoulder promotions, deputations and absorptions of the officers in various Sindh government departments, including the police.
On June 12, the SC’s three-member bench struck down this law after a series of hearing and ordered the Sindh government to withdraw out-of-turn promotions within three weeks. Following these orders, the government had taken back such promotions from many officials, except 12 officers, including SSP Chaudhry Aslam, SSP Farooq Awan, SSP Raja Umer Khattab and SSP Niaz Khoso.
“To accommodate his blue-eyed persons, the IG issued impugned order granting blanket exemptions or relaxation to those officers, who had been demoted under the SC directives,” the petitioner disclosed.
According to the Sindh police notification issued on April 3 and signed by DIG Establishment Dr Amin Yousufzai, “a demoted official, who has not passed any promotional course, will be exempted from A1, B1 and the lower school course.”
The demoted police officials, who have passed the lower school course shall be exempted from the intermediate course, it added.
The relaxation and exemption shall be allowed only once to those demoted officials, who have crossed the age limit to undergo the prerequisite promotional cases, the notification stated.
Malik Naeem Iqbal, the petitioner’s lawyer, argued that the IGP’s standing order is in violation of directives passed by the apex court.
Passing a restraining order on July 29, the SHC bench had ordered that the case of any police official, who is affected by the directions of the Supreme Court, and who is also, in any manner, said to come within the scope of aforementioned provisions of the standing order shall not be considered for promotion till August 6.
The bench had clarified, however, that if the departmental promotion committee is of the view that any particular case of promotion will not violate the Supreme Court directives, it may pass an order, but only after satisfying why a particular officer is entitled to an exemption.
On Tuesday, Additional IG Legal-II Syed Mazhar Ali Shah appeared before the bench and requested for time on behalf of IG Shahid Nadeem Baloch to file his reply. Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, while granting time, continued the restraining order passed on the last date of hearing till August 16.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2013.