PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Thursday directed the attorney general for Pakistan and provincial advocate general to respond to a petition challenging the seniority list of police officers issued by the department last June.

A bench consisting of Justice Syed Arshad Ali and Justice Dr Khurshid Iqbal issued notices to the two law officers asking if the provincial government is competent to promote police officers of BPS-17 and above through the provincial selection board or it is the domain of the federal government.

It was hearing a petition jointly filed by superintendent of police (security) Salahuddin Khan and six other police officers requesting the court to declare the impugned seniority list issued on June 28, 2022, by the additional inspector general (AIG) (Establishment) as unconstitutional and against Articles 142, 240 and 260 of the Constitution.

The petitioners requested the court to direct the respondents, including the provincial government and provincial police officer, to restore an earlier seniority list of DSPs (BPS-17) issued on Feb 21, 2022, as it was based on the relevant laws and rules.

Officers call for restoration of previous list

The petitioners highlighted the Police Service of Pakistan (Composition, Cadre and Seniority) Rules, 1985, and said those rules declare that promotions to BPS-18 should be made on the basis of 40 per cent quota reserved for the provincial police cadre.

They prayed the court to direct the respondents to prepare joint seniority list of senior officers in BPS-17, including ASPs and DSPs, in light of those rules and then make promotion to BPS-18 on the basis of 40 per cent quota of provincial police officers.

The bench fixed Aug 10 for next hearing into the petition.

Advocates Anwarul Haq and Mohammad Ahmad Khan appeared for the petitioners and said their clients served as senior police officers (BPS-17) in the police department.

They sad the petitioners, who were promoted as DSPs, had successfully undertaken various obligations and missions

Mr Anwar said a seniority list meant for DSPs was issued on Feb 21, 2022, but violating different procedures and rules, the list was revised and instead, the impugned list was issued in June 2022 by the AIG (Establishment) without citing any cogent reason.

He said the petitioners had filed departmental appeals and representations with the competent authority, but to no avail.

The lawyer said under Police Service of Pakistan (Composition, Cadre and Seniority) Rules, 1985, 40 per cent quota was reserved for promotion and ‘encadrement’ for officers of the police cadre of the province for which joint seniority list had to be prepared.

He added that the respondents had never followed the criteria and rules.

Mr Anwar said an identical claim of promotion and ‘encadrement’ was raised before the Sindh High Court, which had decided the same in favour of petitioners in 2014, while the judgement was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2015.

He wondered whether the whole process of issuing the seniority list of duly sanctions from the provincial government and thereafter to convene a departmental promotion committee’s meeting for promoting police officers was not the domain of the federal government through the establishment secretary.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2022

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