DG Sher Afgan asked to return to apex court after 14 years

ECP official challenges repatriation to SCP

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday reserved judgment on a petition of the additional secretary of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) challenging repatriation to the Supreme Court.
Justice Aamer Farooq reserved judgment on the petition of the ECP’s additional secretary, Syed Sher Afgan, after his counsel, Ghulam Muhammad Khan, concluded his arguments.
Afgan has challenged repatriation to his parent department – Supreme Court of Pakistan saying that the order of June 24 was issued in an arbitrary manner without issuing any notice to the petitioner.
He had made the chief election commissioner, secretary ECP, the deputy director ECP, Nafeesa Hashmi, and the registrar of the Supreme Court of Pakistan as respondents in his petition.
According to his counsel, Afgan was serving as Principal Private Secretary (BPS-18) in the Supreme Court and was posted with the then Chief Justice of Pakistan. He said that the services of petitioner were requisitioned by the respondents on deputation basis and later the petitioner was absorbed in ECP on regular basis with the approval of ‘lending and borrowing departments.’ Khan has submitted notification of appointment on deputation, consent of the petitioner, NOC issued by the parent department and notification regarding absorption of the petitioner.
“The Hon’ble Chief Justice of Pakistan has been pleased to allow Syed Sher Afgan, ex-Principal Private Secretary of this court to be absorbed in the Election Commission of Pakistan on regular basis,” the registrar of the apex court had stated in the NOC.
Subsequently, Afgan was granted promotion as joint secretary, up-graded in BPS-21, his post was re-designated as director general and was recently appointed as the additional secretary ECP.
On June 24, Afgan was repatriated to his parent department with immediate effect on the ground that the apex court, presumptively, in a recent judgment had held all such absorptions as illegal. He said that Nafeesa Hashmi was not the competent authority to issue the notification in the case of petitioner.
Among the grounds, the notification of repatriation is a result of misreading and non-reading of the judgment on the Supreme Court and Hashmi acted beyond her powers, which is liable to be set aside, says the petition.
The petitioner was relieved by the Supreme Court in the light of relevant instructions on the subject after his services were requisitioned by the ECP. In addition, he said, absorption was made with the prior approval of both the departments. “No violation has been committed by either side,” the petition states.
The petitioner has alleged that the malafide on the part of issuing authority is that she issued the impugned notification without going through the judgment of the Supreme Court and it was a sheer disregard to 14 years service record of the petitioner. The petition goes on to say the notification was issued “just to humiliate the petitioner.”
The counsel for petitioner further stated that the apex court had laid down some principles to set aside the impugned illegal absorptions which were made ultra vires to the standing legal dispensation whereas in the same judgment the SC has upheld the deputations/absorptions which were made in accordance with law.
He added that the case of petitioner came on deputation to a constitutional body (ECP) from a constitutional body (Supreme Court) and the recent judgment is not applicable to him. The petitioner said that the impugned notification has hurt the reputation of the appellant and caused damage to his status. He added that he may be forced to join his parent department if the notification is not suspended, adding that it would be tantamount to accepting the impugned notification rendering it impossible for the petitioner to get redress of his grievance being agitated through the writ petition.
While seeking suspension of the notification till the disposal of the case, the petitioner has prayed to set aside the order and declare his deputation was in accordance with law.

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