Two senior officials, who have been working on deputation in the Supreme Court since 2015, have been granted another two-year extension in service in apparent violation of the rules.
Sources revealed to The Express Tribune that the apex court registrar has extended deputation period of Muhammad Sohail and Abdul Shabbir Khan Khattak.
It is also learnt that the competent authority has approved a note of extension in deputation moved by SC Registrar. Now letters have been written to their borrowing departments. The notification will be issued once the Auditor General and the Establishment Division approve and place their services on the SC Registrar
Khattak, a BS-19 officer of the Secretariat Group, was appointed to the Supreme Court one scale up as deputy registrar (BS-20) on November 20, 2015 for a period of three years. His deputation was extended for a period of two years in November 2018.
The officer was to be repatriated to his parent department after November 19, 2020. However, he is now granted another extension of two years, a source said.
Another officer Muhammad Sohail has been granted extension by saying that since the court has no accounts officer to replace him and since his services are further required for smooth functioning of the official business, deputation period of Sohail, Accounts Officer (BS-18), may be further extended for two year w.e.f.19.11.2020, in public interest.
According to SL No 27(i) of the Civil Establishment Code (Estacode) of 2007 Vol 1, the normal period of deputation for all categories of government servants is three years extendable by two years with the prior approval of the competent authority.
According to SL No 17 (Reversion of Deputationists to Parent Departments), the period of deputation of an officer cannot be extended beyond 5 years in any case.
If a borrowing department needs the services of another officer having the qualification or experience possessed by the deputationist, a request should be made to the lending department to depute some other officer in his place possessing the same qualification or experience as far as possible, the rule says.
The borrowing department in no case is allowed to insist on retaining a particular individual beyond the original period of deputation.
The summary for extension in Khattak’s tenure, however, stated that the post of a deputy registrar can be filled by promoting an incumbent assistant registrar as well as through deputation as per the Supreme Court Establishment Service Rules 2015.
Presently one post of deputy registrar is lying vacant due to retirement of Iftikhar Ahmed as no assistant registrar is eligible to be promoted as deputy registrar against the post.
In case Shabbir Khattak is relieved, another post of deputy registrar will fall vacant which will affect smooth functioning of the official business. It said administration is a very important branch which needs to be run by an experienced officer.
It is also stated that services of the officer were placed at the disposal of the court under Section 10 of the Civil Servant Act 1973.
However, a senior official, who is a permanent employee in the SC, said Section 10 is not applicable to the Supreme Court but under the SC Rules 2015, the Civil Servants (APT) Rules and other instructions are applicable.
He said these deputationists’ matter should have been placed before a committee comprising chief justice of Pakistan and two senior most judges and the committee could relax the rules.
Source said deputationists occupy key administrative positions in the Supreme Court, causing resentment among permanent employees who believe that they are being ignored during promotions.
Currently, 29 deputationists are working in the Supreme Court including SC Register Khawaja Daud Ahmad, Additional Registrar Judicial Abdul Razzaq, Additional Registrar Administration Amer Saleem Rana and Deputy Registrar Adman Abdul Shabbir Khan Khattak.
Muhammad Ali (BS-21) was a permanent employee but he was transferred to the Federal Judicial Academy from where he will retire in March 2021.
During an informal discussion with several permanent employees, it transpired that the permanent staff is demoralized due to deputationists. There is also a cold war between permanent employees and deputationists.
The SC has been acquiring services of a civil servant on deputation for the post of registrar after the retirement of Dr Faqir Hussain, who also got a one-time job extension.
Hussain was followed by Tahir Shahbaz. Later, Arbab Arif was appointed and now Khawaja Daud is occupying the top administrative post in the apex court.
Senior lawyers believe that the post of the SC registrar is very sensitive. Therefore, they said, it would be better if the services of any high court or lower court judge could be acquired for the post.
The lawyers said hiring of civil servants after every three years would not send a good message to the public as thousands of employees had been repatriated to their parents departments due to the apex court’s interference.
They said if the permanent employees are not eligible to perform at key posts, specialists should be hired from different sectors for their capacity building. Superior bars have already disapproved of the trend of hiring civil servants to the apex court on deputation.