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Chief minister can`t reject SPSC recommendations, SHC told

October 23, 2008

KARACHI, Oct 22 The chief minister has no authority to reject the recommendations of the Sindh Public Service Commission in respect of candidates applying for government jobs through it, the counsel for 18 medical officers selected to serve in the population welfare department claimed before the Sindh High Court on Wednesday.

Disposing of a petition by the doctors, an SHC division bench had directed the government to either issue appointment letters to them or state the reasons for not accepting the SPSC's recommendations by a speaking order. The petitioner moved a contempt application against the chief secretary on the expiry of the stipulated 30 days and the plea came up for hearing before another division bench comprising Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Khwaja Naveed Ahmed.

Advocate-General Mohammad Yusuf Leghari submitted that the chief minister had passed an order rejecting the SPSC's recommendations and no case for contempt could be made out against the chief secretary or any other functionary of the provincial government. He said the rejection order had been passed in accordance with Section 7 of the SPSC Act, which empowered the provincial chief executive/chief minister to review and reject the commission's recommendations and re-advertise the vacancies sought to be filled.

The vacancies had since been re-advertised and the petition as well as the application had become infructuous and non-maintainable, the AG said and produced a copy of the CM's order.

Appearing for the petitioner applicants, Advocate Mohammad Nawaz Shaikh argued that the CM was devoid of any power to reject the recommendations as he was neither the appointing authority nor the competent authority. The petitioners were among the 131 medical officers selected by the SPSC out of several hundred candidates for the vacancies advertised by the population welfare department. They had acquired a vested right which they could not be deprived of.

The counsel requested an adjournment for further arguments and for an effort to persuade the government to accept the SPSC's recommendations. The hearing was adjourned to Oct 29.

Pre-arrest bail

The chief justice, meanwhile, allowed interim bail before arrest to Jan Mohammad Dahiri and Bahadur Dahiri, father and cousin, respectively, of Khan Mohammad Dahiri, a candidate for the office of Nawabshah district nazim. The office has been vacated by Faryal Talpur, sister of President Asif Ali Zardari, after her election to the National Assembly.

The accused had been booked by the Daulatpur police station, Nawabshah, along with 20 others for sedition under Section 121 of the Pakistan Penal Code for raising slogans against Pakistan. They are also alleged to have instigated a gathering of their supporters to raise seditious slogans.

Representing the applicants, Advocate A.Q. Halepota submitted that Khan Mohammad had contested for the office of nazim in 2006 local council polls also but was defeated by Ms Talpur. He was again contesting for the office and the case against his relatives was politically motivated to put pressure on him to withdraw from the contest.

The CJ issued notices to the respondents for November 10 and ordered the production of the police papers relating to the case. The police were restrained from arresting the accused in the meantime. The accused were asked to furnish security amounting to Rs50,000 each.

Notices to AG, CID

Another bench consisting of Justices Khilji Arif Hussain and Dr Qamaruddin Bohra, meanwhile, issued notices to the advocate-general and the Central Investigation Department in a petition challenging the authority of the CID police station to register a case and arrest an accused.

Petitioner Naureen Zaheer submitted through Advocate Sohail Hameed that her husband, Abdul Zaheer, was booked and arrested by the CID police station following a complaint lodged by a commercial bank, his former employer, for misappropriation. Seeking quashment of the case, her counsel argued that the registration of the FIR was unlawful as the CID police had no power to act under Section 154 of the criminal procedure code. He said the Police Order of 2002 envisaged total separation of the operations, investigation and prosecution wings of the police force.