ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) set aside a notification of the Ministry of Housing and Works to reserve 10 percent quota for the promotion of non-engineers to the post of executive engineer in the Public Works Department.
The Ministry of Housing and Works on 30th March 2021 issued a notification, wherein, it declared that 10 percent of the posts of the executive engineer (Civil) (BS-18) are to be allocated and reserved for promotion of assistant executive engineer (Civil) (BS-17), possessing B-Tech degree to the post of the executive engineer (QS) (BS-18) and that such executive engineers (BS-18) shall not carry out duties as professional engineers.
The judgment, authored by Justice Babar Sattar, noted that the impugned notification was issued in breach of provisions of the Rules of Business, 1973, the Civil Servants (Appointment, Promotion and Transfer) Rules, 1973, and the Pakistan Engineering Council Act, 1976 and also not backed by legal authority.
The judgment stated that the federal government is bound by provisions of the PEC Act to the extent of the terms and conditions of persons discharging professional engineering work as defined under Section 2(xxv) of the PEC Act.
“What the federal government can certainly not do is declare that a post that involves discharging, performing or supervising professional engineering work is to be filled by someone who is not a professional engineer as defined under Section 2(xxiii) of the PEC Act subject to the condition that such non-engineer will no perform professional engineering work while serving against a post that requires performance of professional engineering work,” the judgment said.
Four executive engineers (Civil) of Pakistan Public Works Department (PWD) have challenged and impugned the notification issued by the Ministry of Housing and Works Department, and cited its secretary and director general and secretary Establishment Division as respondents.
They submitted that the job description of an executive engineer involved quintessential engineering functions and such functions could only be discharged by a licensed engineer in view of the provision of the Pakistan Engineer Council (PEC) Act, 1976. That in view of the provisions of the PEC Act, B-Tech degree was a diploma not recognised as an engineering qualification by the PEC and consequently, the Ministry of Housing and Works Department could not issue a notification stating that 10 percent of the appointment of executive engineer (BS-18) would be reserved for those possessing B-Tech degrees, which were not recognised engineering qualification.
The court noted that the secretary Ministry of Housing and Works is vested with no legal authority to approve any changes to the terms and conditions that apply to civil servants. Such changes can only be introduced by the competent authority under the Civil Servant Act, 1973, and the Rules and Regulations framed thereunder.
The secretary Ministry of Housing and Works is not the competent authority to change the terms and conditions of civil servants who serve within the M/O Housing and Works. Consequently, the impugned notification is without lawful authority and of no legal effect.
The IHC maintained that as per the judgments of the Supreme Court, PEC is the regulator of engineering professionals and only such persons can be licensed as professional engineers who have recognised engineering degrees and licensed by the PEC in accordance with the rules and regulations framed under the PEC Act.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021