Peshawar High Court orders merit-based recruitment in govt offices

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has directed the provincial chief secretary and other administrative secretaries to ensure that appointments to government offices are made strictly on ‘merit’ and in accordance with the relevant rules.

Accepting the petition of a qualified citizen seeking appointment as a Class-IV employee to the education department in Charsadda district, a bench consisting of Justice Roohul Amin Khan and Justice Shakeel Ahmad declared that it was necessary for the appointing authority to ensure adherence to the relevant law.

Petitioner Tauseef Ahmad had challenged denial of a Class-IV post at the office of the Charsadda district education officer (male) to him despite being more qualified than five people recruited by the government.

In the detailed verdict, the bench declared that the entire selection and appointment process utterly violated Sub-Rule 2 of Rule 10 of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Civil servants (Appointment, Promotion and Transfer) Rules, 1989.

Declares denial of education dept post to qualified petitioner illegal

It directed the appointment of the petitioner to a Class-IV vacancy in his area.

The bench also ordered the sending of the copies of the judgement to the chief secretary, all administrative secretaries, education directors and district education officers (male) and (female) for future compliance during recruitment.

It observed that public offices were regarded as sacred trust and in such offices, appointments were to be made fairly and strictly in accordance with the provisions contained in Rule 3 and Sub-Rule 2 of Rule 10 of the KP Civil Servants (Appointment, Promotion and Transfer) Rules, 1989, and the persons, who were entitled thereto, and those, who were qualified and trust worthy to discharge the duty of their offices honestly.

“Merits of the appointee with reference to the recruitment of the job should not be violated,” it ruled.

The bench observed that the plain reading of the relevant rules made it crystal clear that the appointments to BPS-3, 4 and 5 should be made on the recommendation of the departmental selection committee through the district employment exchange concerned, and where the ‘said exchange did not exist, posts should be filled through an open competition after their advertising in the leading newspapers, an exercise, which didn’t happen in the current case.

Referring to different verses of the Holy Quran, it declared, “The principle thus deducible was that person to be employed for rendering service should [possess two basic qualities; firstly, he should be physically and mentally fit, and, secondly, he should be honest and trustworthy. It is ordained by the Holy Quran and Sunnah of Holy Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) that the appointments in the office of the government are to be made on the basis of merit.”

The petitioner’s counsel, Noor Mohammad Khattak, said his client had a master’s degree in Islamiyat from the University of Peshawar and had done his BEd and MEd from the Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad.

He added that the petitioner had also passed the Hafizul Quran and Tajveedul Quran courses and possessed a diploma in Information Technology.

The lawyer said his client was duly registered with the District Employment Exchange, Charssada.

The lawyer said despite having better qualification than other candidates, his client was not considered for any of the five Class-IV posts at the office of the Charssada DEO.

He contended that the selection process in question was carried out in violation of the civil servants rules, so appointments to those posts were liable to be set aside.

The counsel pointed out that according to information, which the petitioner had received from the District Employment Exchange under the KP Right to Information Act, the education department had not sought any list from the exchange, which meant that the recruitment in question were made in violation of the law.

Published in Dawn, May 15th, 2022

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