HYDERABAD: While the Sindh Services Tribunal in its decision had described the matter of a BS-20 officer’s history of postings and promotion as a ‘unique case of favouritism and nepotism’, Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Gulzar Ahmed went one step further by observing in his 22-page order on the officer’s appeal that “creation of person-specific post [BS-20] and framing of rules” by health department was result of ‘wish list of officer’ who was granted promotion by making specific amendment while his senior batch-mates were ignored”.
In order to facilitate him, the health department not only made a person-specific amendment to rules, but also created a person-specific position to accommodate the officer, Abdul Sattar Jatoi, in BS-20.
Mr Jatoi had been working as director administration, accounts & development at the Liaquat University Hospital for a long time. He had enjoyed drawing and disbursing officer’s authority departmentally known as “DDO powers”. These powers are supposed to be exercised by an administrative head of an institution and in this case it was the LUH medical superintendent.
According to the SC judgement in Mr Jatoi’s appeal, the officer was four step junior to Ali Abbas Khoso at the time of his appointment on March 16,1992 in health department as planning officer (BS-17). At the time of promotion in BS-18, he still remained a step junior to Mr Khoso.
“It seems out of all district officers (administration, accounts and development) BS-19 only the appellant, Sattar Jatoi, appears to have been put in surplus pool, upon which ‘wish list of appellant’ started and through July 2, 2013 notification competent authority eagerly complied with such ‘wish’ of appellant by inducting him in Provincial Secretariat Service cadre in equivalent post of BS-19 by Jan 10, 2013 notification,” read the SC order.
Though the Nov 25, 2016 notification, the appellant was absorbed as director administration, accounts & development, LUH. “The wish list of appellant did not end there and departmental authority continued to be too eager to accommodate him to the post of appellant’s own desire. By March 6, 2018 notification rules were amended so that appellant can be appointed to the post (BS-20) of director administration, accounts & development in health department. This amendment in rules was made ‘person specific’ to accommodate appellant alone and the appellant, out of so many other batch-mates in BS-19, was granted promotion on June 1,2018.
SC ruled that “competent authority while considering grant of promotion is duty bound and obliged under law to consider merit of all eligible candidates and after due deliberations, to grant promotion to such eligible candidates who are found to be most meritorious among them”.
The two-judge bench comprising CJP Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Ijaz ul Ahsan dismissed the officer’s appeal.
Published in Dawn, January 16th, 2022