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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) declared that the notification dated 15.11.2021 for the appointment of Manzoor Ahmed, general manager, NTDC as managing director NTDC on an acting charge basis, as a stop-gap arrangement for six months will cease to exist on 19.05.2022, and Manzoor is not permitted to act as acting managing director NTDC on the said date.

The IHC further said if on the said date regular incumbent is not appointed by the federal government, the next senior-most person in the hierarchy of the NTDC should be appointed on an acting charge basis by the federal government.

A single bench of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani announced the judgment on the petition of Muzammil Yaseen, who assailed the notification dated 15.11.2021, issued by the Ministry of Energy (Power Division), Government of Pakistan, whereby, respondent No5/ Manzoor Ahmed, general manager, NTDC has been appointed as managing director NTDC on acting charge basis, as stop-gap arrangement for six months or till the appointment of a regular successor, whichever is earlier.

If the officer superannuates before the completion of six months period or appointment of a regular managing director, he will continue on a contract basis for the intervening period.

Brief facts referred to in the instant writ petition are that the NTDC is a public limited company, whereby, the post of managing director NTDC became vacant due to the resignation of the then managing director, where-after the federal government issued the impugned notification as a stop-gap arrangement, whereby, respondent No5 was appointed as managing director for a period of six months.

According to the petitioner, respondent No5 is a junior officer who could not be appointed on an acting charge basis as managing director, especially when senior officers are still available, even respondent No5 was removed from service due to corruption in 1992 by the chairman WAPDA and remained out of service for more than eight years but the federal government has not considered the law, i.e., the Companies Act, 2017, Public Sector Companies (Appointment of Chief Executive) Guidelines, 2015, as well as, principles set out in ESTACODE.

The court noted that in the present case, the last chief executive has resigned from his position, where-after federal government has to appoint an eligible person on an acting charge basis to run the affairs of the NTDC, which has been done in this case but the federal government is bound to follow the law, i.e., the Companies Act, 2017, as well as, Public Sector Companies (Appointment of Chief Executive) Guidelines, 2015.

However, at this stage, it has not been denied that recruitment process has been initiated under the said scheme of law but the primary grievance of the petitioner is that respondent No5 is a junior officer, whereas, senior officers are still available to fill this post for the time being till the regular incumbent will be appointed but senior officers were excluded from consideration.

The judgment said that this court is mindful of the Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules, 2013, which also provide a complete mechanism for the appointment of the chief executive in the public sector company while considering the criteria for determining a fit and proper person and as such federal government is competent to appoint any person but consideration factor for current charge of recruitee for any such post may be given temporarily, with the approval of authority competent to make appointment to the said post, to the senior most officer in the cadre present at the place or in the organization where the vacancy may have occurred if he is otherwise fit and eligible for promotion as settled at Sl. No.121 of the ESTACODE which has not been observed in this case.

It said no doubt the recruitment process has now come to an end as only a notification of federal government is required for new incumbent out of three persons selected in the recruitment process but the second important grievance raised by the petitioner is the extension given to respondent No5 after attaining the age of superannuation on 28.02.2022 where his service has been placed on contract, such phenomena is alien to the entire scheme of appointment for such position including the Companies Act, 2017, the Public Sector Companies (Corporate Governance) Rules, 2013 as well as Public Sector Companies (Appointment of Chief Executive) Guidelines, 2015.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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