SC verdict elaborates prerequisites


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court held that if a civil employee is not considered due to any administrative slip-up, error or delay when his right to be considered for promotion is matured and without such consideration, he reaches the age of superannuation before the promotion, then obviously the avenue or pathway of proforma promotion comes into field for his rescue.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Sardar Tariq Masood, on 26.09.2022 after hearing the petition of Secretary Ministry of National Health Services against Federal Service Tribunal, Islamabad judgment dated 21.05.2022 had reserved the judgment, which was uploaded on the SC’s website.

The judgment authored by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar said if the employee lost his promotion on account of any administrative oversight or delay in the meeting of the DPC or Selection Board despite having fitness, eligibility and seniority, then in all fairness, he has a legitimate expectation for proforma promotion with consequential benefits.

The provision for proforma promotion is not alien or unfamiliar to the civil servant service structure but it is already embedded in Fundamental Rule 17, wherein, it is lucidly enumerated that the appointing authority may, if satisfied that a civil servant who was entitled to be promoted from a particular date was, for no fault of his own, wrongfully prevented from rendering service to the Federation in the higher post, direct that such civil servant shall be paid the arrears of pay and allowances of such higher post through proforma promotion or upgradation arising from the antedated fixation of his seniority.

The judgment noted that unjustified delay in proforma promotion cases trigger severe hardship and difficulty for the civil servants and also creates multiplicity of litigation. It would be in the fitness of things that the competent authority should fix a timeline with strict observance for the designated committees of proforma promotions in order to ensure rational decisions on the matters expeditiously with its swift implementation, rather than dragging or procrastinating all such issues inordinately or without any rhyme or reasons which ultimately compels the retired employees to knock the doors of Courts of law for their withheld legitimate rights which could otherwise be granted to them in terms of applicable rules of service without protracted litigation or Court’s intervention.

The private persons (respondents) were granted proforma promotion to BPS-19 with effect from 29.12.1999 vide notification dated 15.01.2018, they had already reached the maximum stage of BPS-19; therefore, they were entitled to be moved-over to BPS-20.

The respondents were performing their duties in the Population Welfare Department. After retirement, they were allowed proforma promotion from BPS17 to BPS-18 and BPS-18 to BPS-19 in compliance with the judgments of the Tribunal dated 23.10.2008 and 09.07.2010, and the judgments of the apex court dated 30.06.2009 and 24.11.2010. However, the respondents claimed the entitlement of move-over, w.e.f. 01.12.2000 on the notion that they had reached the maximum stage of pay scale on 01.12.1999. Their request was forwarded to the concerned Ministry and thereafter, the Move-Over Committee on 31-07-2019 decided that the respondents are not entitled for grant of move-over as requested by them. Being aggrieved, the respondents filed representations to the department which were rejected; thereafter the respondents approached the Tribunal where their appeals were allowed. The Ministry of National Health Services challenged the Tribunal’s verdict before the Supreme Court. The bone of contention between the petitioner and private respondents is whether, before the proforma promotion, the respondents had already reached the maximum stage of BPS-19 and, hence, were entitled for grant of move-over to BPS-20.