At daggers drawn, again


The Punjab government has once again moved ahead with a plan to curtail the powers of Governor Punjab Sardar Lateef Khosa in favour of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif by introducing certain various changes in the existing laws pertaining to Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC) act/rules.
The situation has brought the Governor’s Secretariat and the Punjab government at loggerhead as the Governor’s Secretariat was of the view that terms and conditions of the members of the Commission should be approved by the governor since he was the appointing authority for the members of the commission while the Punjab government was of the considered view that the CM was competent to approve the terms and conditions of the members as prescribed through the Punjab Public Service Commission (Conditions of Service) Rules, 1978.
In this war of power grabbing, the Punjab government, which constituted a committee comprising several secretaries who are working under the administrative control of CM Shahbaz, has strongly recommended amendment in the relevant rules be made to ensure that in future the appointment of PPSC chairman should be made only on advice of the CM as against the present arrangement which envisages that the governor shall nominate one of the members to be the chairman of the Commission. Punjab government is convinced that the present provision under section 3(6) PPSC act is not consistent with Article 242 of the Constitution to the extent that it lacks the element of advice by the CM regarding appointment of the Chairman PPSC.
Similarly, on the issue of appointments of PPSC members, the committee recommended that instead of empowering Punjab governor to appoint members PPSC, the members may be appointed by the CM and section 3 (2) of the PPSC Ordinance 1978 may be amended accordingly. As a second option the committee recommended that PPSC ordinance may be amended to incorporate the provision regarding advice of the CM. However, facing the stiff opposition from the Governor Secretariat, both the options have been pulled back at-least for the time being.