ED likely to challenge IHC verdict in senior bureaucrats’ promotion case


ISLAMABAD: The Establishment Division (ED) is likely to challenge the Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) verdict in a case pertaining to the promotion of more than 50 senior bureaucrats, who had been superseded and deferred by the Central Selection Board (CSB), Pakistan Today has learnt.

According to sources, ED will file an intra-court appeal on Monday as the wing concerned has finalised its deliberations over the detailed judgment of IHC.

On Thursday, Justice Aamer Farooq of IHC, while accepting petitions of the bureaucrats, had set aside recommendations of the CSB to supersede and defer the promotion of more than 50 senior bureaucrats.

The court, in its detail judgment, stated that the petitioners had assailed the above recent objective assessment form and were aggrieved of either their deferment or supersession on the basis thereof. In almost all cases, the petitioners have obtained the threshold aggregated, however, were placed in category-C as they scored less than 5 marks.

“According to learned Deputy Attorney General (DAG), the categorisation of civil servants into category-C is based on the record such as 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.”

The court ruled that the arguments by the learned DAG are not tenable and hence are rejected inasmuch as it is anomalous that an individual achieves the requisite threshold i.e. in the case of civil servant in BS-19, who is to be promoted to BS-20, 70% marks or more and in the case of promotion from BS-20 to BS-21, 75% 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 in light of clauses 2.E and F of O.M dated 12.10.2012.

The examination of office memorandum shows that as per objective assessment to be made by CSB; the record comprises PERs, TERs and dossier of a civil servant and the same are to be examined and personal knowledge of members of CSB is not to be used in awarding marks.

“The objective assessment form apparently does comply with the directions of Supreme Court of Pakistan made in Dr. Arif’s case, supra. The Office Memorandum, hence, is not in violation of the principles propounded by the august Apex Court and does not merit setting aside. CSB has not acted in a reasonable manner while placing the petitioners in category-C and has exercised discretion arbitrarily and unreasonably.”

“For the above-mentioned reasons, the above petitions except (W.P Nos. 1004/17, 2738/18 and 3177/2017) are allowed and 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 Supreme Court of Pakistan from time to time.”

It is further expected that the federal government/ED will look into the matter and do the needful, so as to, put an end to the recurrent litigation on part of aggrieved civil servants.

It is worth mentioning here that ED introduced the criterion in October 2014, under which CSB was empowered to reject the promotion of a civil servant if they failed to secure at least three out of five marks for “integrity/general reputation/perception”.

According to the memorandum issued on June 18, 2017, just a day before the CSB was to meet for reconsidering promotion cases from May 2015, mandatory five marks were removed from the “objective assessment” form.

The ED removed the five marks from the integrity related column but linked the evaluation of personal profile, behaviour, discipline, integrity and reputation with documentary evidence.

The CSB denied promotions to scores of senior bureaucrats on the basis of this criterion by invoking the integrity-related clause subsequently these officers initially challenged the CSB’s recommendations in the IHC which set the promotions aside.

Later, the Supreme Court upheld the IHC’s order and remanded the case back to the ED to reconsider the promotions.