IHC clears 300 bureaucrats’ promotions

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—A division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday upheld promotions of some 300 senior bureaucrats by setting aside the decision of a single bench that annulled the recommendations of the Central Selection Board (CSB). The bench comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb announced the verdict on the appeals filed by the federal government against July 2015 decision of IHC single bench.
In July 2015, Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had set aside the promotions of bureaucrats with directions to the federal government to revise the promotion policy criteria and reconsider the promotions of those officers whose names were deferred in Central Selection Board (CSB) meeting. Justice Siddiqui had also declared that the entire process carried out by the CSB on the basis of the formula was illegal. He had given the decision while hearing a petition of some 60 bureaucrats who had assailed the CSB recommendations and formula through which promotions were awarded while calling it as a controversial formula.
The federal government, subsequently, filed an intra court appeal (ICA) stating that for the posts comparatively more meritorious officers were selected based on the collective wisdom of the CSB. Additional attorney general Afnan Karim Kundi, representing the federal government had contended before the court that this also applied to an officer not promoted due to negative general reputation or perception about him or his integrity which simply results in leaving him out of competition of promotion.
The federal government had requested the court to set aside the order issued against the promotions of hundreds of civil servants. The superseded bureaucrats adopted before the court the minimum threshold of marks for the promotions was 75. The CSB had the discretion to award 15 marks keeping in view the integrity and personal reputation of the officers. In some special cases, the board had nine additional marks for the officers who were above 58 years of age and could not attend the mandatory staff college course (for promotions from grade 18-22) due to unavoidable circumstances.
The IHC single bench had declared the ‘veto’ power of the CSB illegal. The division bench however, deciding the appeals of the federal government against the said order upheld the single bench order about the ‘veto’ power of the CSB.
The bench observed that “the ground of deferment for watching further performance (of the civil servants) to be made more specific.” The court directed the federal government to “make promotion policy part of rules” as laid down in the Civil Servants Act 1973.

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