PESHAWAR: Peshawar High Court has rejected plea of a candidate, challenging the withdrawal of appointment offer to him as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Oil and Gas Company’s chief executive officer after he had accepted it.
A bench consisting of Justice Syed M Attique Shah and Justice Wiqar Ahmad ruled that the petition filed by the candidate, Dr Ammer Khan Jadoon, was not maintainable keeping in view his contractual status not withstanding merits of the case.
The bench referred to a judgment of Supreme Court of Pakistan, observing that the verdict reflected that the petition in contractual matters was not maintainable, especially when the relationship between the petitioner and the respondent company was that of master and servant.
The bench observed that only remedy available to the petitioner was to approach the relevant court for damages.
Bench observes petitioner can approach relevant court for damages
The high court had earlier issued a restraining order preventing the filling of the post of CEO since February this year and the same was a source of concern for the provincial government and the company.
The petitioner had requested the court to declare him lawfully appointed against the post of KPOGCL’s chief executive officer by strength of the offer for appointment made to him on December 19, 2022 and acceptance of the offer by him on December 29, 2022.
He had also prayed the court to declare as illegal the withdrawal and revocation of the offer for appointment on February 3, 2023 after its acceptance by him.
The petitioner’s counsel argued that appointment of his client to the post was made through a proper channel as the position was advertised and he applied for it and was interviewed before his appointment from among three candidates was approved by the former provincial cabinet.
He said that the decision was put forward to the company for compliance and even he was offered an appointment, which he accepted but that offer was withdrawn and revoked. The counsel added that once an appointment offer was accepted, it couldn’t be withdrawn.
He said that the basis of withdrawal and revocation was vague as the company contacted a “wrong person” in his client’s previous firm who only provided his service tenure and the last position held, and did not comment on any of the posts held by the petitioner.
He said that though the company didn’t issue a show cause notice, the petitioner clarified the issue and provided the required documents for a second time.
Barrister Asadul Mulk appeared for KPOGCL whereas the advocate general, Aamir Javed, and the additional advocate general, Mubashir Manzoor, represented the provincial government.
They contended that the petitioner’s former employee (British Petroleum) did not verify his last position as “d-managing director and general manager operations” there. They said that he was given offer of appointment with certain terms and conditions and on the basis of information and credentials furnished by him in his application.
They stated that verification of his credentials were initiated by the company and accordingly, the entire details of his service rendered in the British Petroleum, as mentioned in his application form, were sent to British Petroleum through an email on January 2, 2023 for verification.
Pursuant thereto, they said, the company was informed that the petitioner remained their employee since September 3, 2007 to August 31, 2022 and the last position held by him in British Petroleum was as “facilities engineer” that negated his claim.
The bench observed when asked to show any document in support of his claim about holding last position in the British Petroleum as “d-managing director and general manager operations,” the petitioner’s counsel could not refer to any authentic and relevant document except the letters he had mentioned in his reply.
The bench ruled that in the backdrop of the case, the court understood that the information furnished by the petitioner in his application form regarding his work experience could not verify from the quarters concerned as per the terms and conditions of his offer of appointment.
“In the given facts and circumstances of the case, the respondent company has rightly withdrawn/revoked the offer of appointment of the petitioner through the impugned email,” the bench ruled.
Published in Dawn, September 25th, 2023