LAHORE - The Punjab Service Tribunal (PST) on Wednesday allowed a petition filed by former Punjab Secretariat Service (ex-PSS) officers, a faction of provincial service officers, against former Punjab chief secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa’s decision on disputed promotion share.

The ex-PSS officers had appealed to the tribunal to set aside the decision of the ex-chief secretary, revising the unfair ratio for promotions to next grades and allowing the promotions on proportionate basis in accordance with the cadre strength.

The PST, in its short verbal order, after completing a one-year-long hearing, allowed the appeal and ordered the provincial administrative boss, the chief secretary, to send the recommendations to the chief minister, the competent authority.

In its detailed order, the PST wrote, “It is well established by now that the provision of any act or rule can be challenged any time by an aggrieved person. No period of limitation is prescribed by Limitation Act 1908.” The court further said the appellants, in their representation before the Punjab chief secretary, had pleaded that the rules fixing the ratio of 7:3 for promotions were arbitrary, discriminatory and against the rules of natural justice.” The objection of the respondents that departmental representation of the appellants was barred by time is rejected, the tribunal wrote. The PST set aside the order the CS passed on March 28 last year. It said the impugned ratio of 7:3 in PMS Rules 2004 may be revised in accordance with the policy instructions contained in S&GAD’s letter SOR-II 2-54/76 dated September 25, 1980, which works out to be 51:49 for ex-PCS and ex-PSS cadres, respectively.

The tribunal ordered the CS to send the report of the committee along with his own recommendations to theCM within 30 days in the light of the observations and principles laid down by the superior courts.

Former CS Khosa had rejected the ex-PSS officers’ request for reviewing the promotion ratio according to their cadre strength. It merits mentioning here that on March 28, a couple of days before his transfer to Islamabad as federal finance secretary, Khosa had retained the previous ratio. Instead of sending recommendations to the competent authority, he had issued the order on its own that the secretariat service officers’ thought was violation of the prescribed rules.

The ex-PSS officers, regretting this decision, said they had approached him (the CS) after their failure to reach consensus over the issue. Their demand of settling the ratio according to cadre strength was legal, they repeated, adding the former CS neither bothered to consult the ratio of Recruitment Rules or Policy Instructions 1980 that clarifies the promotion matters on the basis of cadre strength nor did he decide the petition on merit.

They said they had submitted at least eleven consecutive applications to the CS that the discrimination could be averted by correcting the Provincial Management Service Rules 2004 by substituting the ratio of 7:3 for ex-PCS and ex-PSS officers, respectively, as per their cadre strength that they thought was 51:49.

They said that his decision had created ire among the ex-PSS officers who considered it was biased, so they decided to knock at the tribunal’s door to get relief. The ex-PSS officers had pleaded to the PST to revise the existing ratio of 7 and 3 and had sought relief on the grounds that the ratio ought to be set on the basis of cadre strength that they thought should be 51 and 49.

The PST on Wednesday, allowing the appeals, issued directions to CS Capt (r) Naveed Akram Cheema to frame recommendations in this regard and forward the same to the CM who was competent to revise the rules, if needed.

Some officers from both of the factions of provincial service considered the PST judgment as balanced. They were on the same page, saying former CS Khosa’s decision last year had caused a loss to them. Responding to a query that a faction might go to the Supreme Court against the PST order, a segment of the ex-PCS officers said, the judgment was in their favor. PMS President Yasrab Hanjra was not available for comments.