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ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court held that persons and medical officers appointed under the Sindh Public Service Commission (SPSC) Act, 1989, will continue to remain in their services.

A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Ijazul Ahsan on Tuesday heard the appeals against the Sindh High Court (SHC) regarding appointments and other irregularities in SPSC Act, 1989. The bench after hearing the arguments disposed of the case.

The Court also held that the medical officers who are performing their duties will also continue to work. The court directed the Commission to examine the appellants’ cases individually, adding if they fulfil the required criteria then they should be appointed on the vacant posts.

The bench noted as the Public Service Commission Act, 2022, is enacted; therefore, the appeals have become infructuous. Sindh Provincial Assembly on 13th June 2022 had passed the Sindh Public Service Commission Bill, 2022, which was assented to by the acting governor of Sindh on June 15, 2022.

Makhdoom Ali Khan, representing persons who were selected through CCE-2018, said the officers were fired, without being heard. He argued that the SHC used suo moto power which was against the constitution.

The counsel further stated that the High Court has also stopped the officers recruited through CCE, 2018. He said the SHC neither heard the Sindh AG nor the officers were the party before the High Court.

The SHC last year in June had declared the SPSC Act 1989 ultra vires to the Constitution and cancelled the job test results of medical officers and Combined Competitive Examination (CCE) held in 2018.

The former chief justice Gulzar Ahmed in November 2021 had allowed the PSC chairman and the members to continue to work till the final decision on the appeal. It also permitted the suspended officers recruited through the CCE 2018 to work.

Sindh Advocate General said that the Hyderabad circuit bench of the SHC had made null and void the SPSC Act and also set aside the appointment made under this law. He said that the SHC’s verdict affected the recruitment of 1700 male and female medical officers.

The SHC stated that bureaucracy used to function more efficiently under Sindh Civil Servants Act, 1973, and the Sindh Civil Servants Rules, 1974 and 1975 and half a dozen other similar laws and rules. “The province had been served by honest, qualified and motivated civil servants before 1989 when this institution (SPSC) in its present form was born - according to one view to serve as one-window facility to foster wholesale corruption.”

The high court further found a deliberate deviation from following the principle of merit in the SPSC Functions Rules, 1990. The 1989 Act states that the commission shall conduct tests and examinations, while the 1990 rules only use the word tests.

The court ordered that all tests, interviews, selections, appointments, tenders, etc., or any act doable under SPSC Act, 1989 or rules and regulations made there-under were suspended.

The court said that in case the provincial government wished to re-enact the laws, it should draw some inspiration from such laws enacted in developed countries such as Australia or New Zealand to deliver the premise of “right man/ woman for the right job” without fear or favour.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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