Proforma promotion, within the context of Pakistani law, pertains to a retrospective elevation in rank and salary for employees who were eligible for promotion but were overlooked due to administrative lapses or delays. This mechanism aims to rectify injustices faced by civil servants and other employees by compensating them for the missed opportunities and benefits that they would have otherwise received had the promotion been timely awarded.

The concept of proforma promotion was recently discussed in the case “The Inspector General of Police, Punjab v. Waris Ali” (2024 SCMR 1109), where the Supreme Court emphasized the necessity of adhering to training requirements as per Rule 19.25 of the Police Rules, 1934, for promotions within the police force. The Court clarified that promotions should be grounded in capacity building and requisite training rather than on the basis of seniority or litigation. The ruling underscored that promotions from the date of juniors’ promotions are not feasible under Rule 19.25, as the rule mandates completion of necessary courses for eligibility. This decision highlights that proforma promotion in the police force is contingent upon meeting training requirements, and any deviation could undermine the institution’s discipline and capacity.

In “National Bank of Pakistan v. Sajjad Ali Kakakhel” (2024 SCMR 12 and 2024 PLC(CS) 276), the Supreme Court dealt with the case of a bank employee whose proforma promotion was disallowed. The respondent’s claim was rejected due to laches and the absence of provisions for proforma promotion in the relevant service rules of the bank. The Court noted that the respondent had already retired and received all due benefits, thus, intervention by the High Court was deemed inappropriate. This case underscores that proforma promotion cannot be granted in the absence of explicit provisions within the service rules and highlights the importance of timely action when challenging supersession.

Similarly, in “Muhammad Afzal Khan v. Lahore High Court, Lahore” (2024 PLC(CS) 279), the Punjab Subordinate Judicial Service Tribunal addressed the issue of proforma promotion for a retired judicial officer. The Tribunal ruled in favour of the appellant, recognizing that the delay in decision-making was attributable to the respondents and not the appellant. The Tribunal’s decision was based on the premise that the appellant had an unblemished career and no legal impediments to his promotion existed. This case demonstrates the principle that delays caused by the administration should not prejudice the rights of the employees, especially when their performance records are clear and they have been persistently pursuing their claims.

The Peshawar High Court, in “Muhammad Idris v. Federation of Pakistan” (2024 PLC(CS) 386), ruled that the petitioner was entitled to proforma promotion from the date when he was the only eligible candidate for the post. The Court highlighted that the petitioner was deprived of his rightful promotion due to administrative actions that filled the post through deputation instead of promotion. The decision emphasizes that proforma promotion is a remedial measure to address such administrative oversights and ensure fair treatment of employees based on their eligibility and service records.

The Supreme Court in “Federation of Pakistan v. Jahanzeb” (2023 PLC(CS) 336) elaborated on the scope of proforma promotion, stating that it is applicable in cases where an employee was not considered for promotion due to administrative errors or delays. The Court recognized that unjustified delays in promotion cause significant hardship for civil servants and lead to unnecessary litigation. The ruling advocated for a fixed timeline for proforma promotion decisions to prevent protracted litigation and ensure timely redressal of employees’ grievances.

In “Ijaz Akhtar v. Secretary to Government of Punjab” (2023 PLC(CS) 431), the Lahore High Court elucidated the meaning and scope of proforma promotion, reiterating that it serves as a remedy for employees who are denied timely promotion due to no fault of their own. The Court emphasized that proforma promotion aims to compensate for the loss of rank and monetary benefits sustained by employees due to administrative delays or legal restraints.

The Supreme Court in “Homoeo Dr. Asma Noreen Syed v. Government of the Punjab” (2022 SCMR 1546 and 2022 PLC(CS) 1390) dealt with the entitlement to proforma promotion after retirement. The Court noted that the appellant was entitled to consideration for proforma promotion based on the correct interpretation of Section 8(5) of the Punjab Civil Servants Act, 1974. The case underscores that retired civil servants may be granted proforma promotion if their right to promotion matured before their retirement but was not realized due to administrative errors or delays.

In the case of “Federation of Pakistan through Secretary, Ministry of National Health Services v. Jahanzeb” (2022 SCMR 2020), the Supreme Court reiterated that proforma promotion becomes relevant when an employee is not considered for promotion due to administrative errors or delays, leading to the employee’s retirement without having received the deserved promotion. The Court stated that if an employee misses out on a promotion due to such administrative oversight, they are entitled to proforma promotion to remedy the injustice. This decision emphasized the need for timely decisions by departmental promotion committees to avoid causing hardship and unnecessary litigation for civil servants.

The Peshawar High Court, in “Muhammad Rustam v. Registrar, Peshawar High Court, Peshawar” (2022 PLC(CS) 1239), dealt with the retrospective upgradation of an employee’s post. The petitioner sought proforma upgradation to BPS-20 from the date of completing 17 years of service. However, the Court held that there was no concept of retrospective upgradation, and the petition was dismissed due to the principle of laches. This case underscores that claims for proforma promotion must be timely and supported by the relevant rules and policies.

In “Secretary Establishment Division, Islamabad v. Tahawwar Ahmad” (2021 SCMR 46 and 2021 PLC(CS) 319), the Supreme Court addressed the entitlement of a civil servant to benefits following proforma promotion. The Court ruled that an employee granted proforma promotion was entitled only to arrears of pay and allowances, not additional benefits such as the allotment of plots. This decision clarified the scope of proforma promotion, indicating that it compensates for missed salary and rank, but not for additional entitlements unrelated to the promotion itself.

The Lahore High Court, in “Masood Khan v. Federation of Pakistan through Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Islamabad” (2021 PLC(CS) 1540), highlighted that employees who were eligible for promotion but were not considered due to administrative failures are entitled to proforma promotion even after retirement. The Court observed that the failure to convene departmental promotion committees was not a valid reason to deny promotion, reinforcing the right of civil servants to be considered for proforma promotion if their promotional opportunities were unjustly delayed.

In “Arshad Ali v. WAPDA” (2020 PLC(CS) 1226), the Lahore High Court further elaborated that proforma promotion serves to remedy the loss sustained by an employee due to the denial of timely promotion. The Court emphasized that this mechanism is designed to address situations where employees face temporary embargos or legal restraints that are later removed, allowing them to receive their due promotions and associated benefits retrospectively.

In another significant case, “Mahfooz Khan v. Secretary, Aviation Division, Islamabad” (2020 PLC(CS) 1315), the Islamabad High Court dealt with the upgradation of posts after the retirement of employees. The Court ruled that upgradation did not automatically apply to incumbents without fulfilling the specific conditions set by the competent authority. This decision clarified that proforma promotion could not be claimed based on post-upgradation unless all procedural requirements were met.

The Supreme Court’s decision in “Dr. Yasmeen Jaffar v. Dr. Shehla Sami” (2019 SCMR 993) addressed inter-se seniority and the grant of proforma promotion without proper procedural adherence. The Court underscored the importance of following due process and hearing all affected parties before granting proforma promotion, reiterating the principle of audi alteram partem (hear the other side). This case highlighted the procedural safeguards necessary for ensuring fair promotion practices.

In “Muhammad Rashid Bhatti v. The Director General FIA, Headquarters, Islamabad” (2019 PLC(CS) 126), the Supreme Court dealt with the seniority and promotion of a civil servant who was repeatedly superseded. The Court clarified that proforma promotion is applicable when an employee is wrongfully prevented from being promoted due to no fault of their own. However, in this case, the petitioner was deliberately superseded, and thus, the provisions of Rule 17(1) of the Fundamental Rules did not apply. This decision emphasized that proforma promotion is contingent upon the absence of deliberate supersession.

In “Aqeel Akram v. Lahore Development Authority” (2019 PLC(CS) 1264), the Lahore High Court dealt with the issue of an employee failing to submit Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) to the Departmental Promotion Committee. The Court held that the petitioner was considered for promotion, and the decision was in his favour subject to the provision of missing ACRs. Since the petitioner did not comply, he could not claim proforma promotion as he was neither prevented from being promoted nor was the department negligent. This case underscores the employee’s responsibility in fulfilling procedural requirements for promotion.

In “Shah Nawaz Kutrio v. Province of Sindh” (2019 PLC(CS) 1209), the Karachi High Court addressed the withholding of promotion due to pending departmental proceedings, which led to the petitioner’s retirement without promotion. The Court held that since the promotion was approved during his service and he superannuated during the process, the petitioner was entitled to proforma promotion. This decision highlights that approved promotions should not be negated by pending inquiries if the employee retires during the process.

“Muhammad Iqbal v. Chairman National Accountability Bureau” (2019 PLC(CS)N 25) involved the doctrine of laches where the petitioner sought promotion after retirement. The Karachi High Court dismissed the petition due to laches, noting that the petitioner did not fulfill the criteria for promotion and filed the petition three years post-retirement. This case underscores the necessity of timely action and fulfillment of eligibility criteria for proforma promotion claims.

In “Shoukat Ali Mughal v. Secretary Services Azad Jammu and Kashmir Government Muzaffarabad” (2018 PLC(CS) 1129), the Supreme Court of Azad Kashmir discussed the regular induction of an employee through transfer and the determination of seniority. The Court emphasized that seniority should be reckoned from the date of regular appointment, and proforma appointment was not considered a regular appointment. This case clarifies the principles for determining seniority and the limitations of proforma promotion.

The Supreme Court, in “Muhammad Rashid Bhatti v. The Director General FIA, Headquarters, Islamabad” (2018 SCMR 1995), dealt with inter-se seniority and supersession. The Court ruled that Rule 17(1) of the Fundamental Rules, which provides for seniority and arrears of pay through proforma promotion, was not applicable as the petitioner was deliberately superseded. This decision emphasizes that proforma promotion is not applicable where supersession is deliberate and justified.

In “M.Y. Labib-ur-Rehman v. Federation of Pakistan” (2018 PLC(CS)N 65), the Lahore High Court addressed the issue of ante-dated and proforma promotion. The Court noted that the employee was deprived of his legitimate right to promotion due to administrative lapses and ordered the department to grant ante-dated and proforma promotion. This ruling highlights that courts can intervene to rectify administrative injustices and ensure fair promotion practices.

In “Ghulam Akbar Allana v. National Bank of Pakistan” (2018 PLC(CS)N 109), the Karachi High Court dismissed a petition for proforma promotion post-retirement, noting that the promotion policy did not apply to the petitioner after his retirement. This case reinforces that proforma promotion claims must align with existing policies and be pursued within the service tenure.

“Ehsanullah Khan v. Federation of Pakistan” (2018 PLC(CS)N 89) involved the jurisdiction of the Service Tribunal concerning the fitness and suitability of employees for promotion. The Karachi High Court ruled that the determination of fitness for promotion involves subjective evaluations premised on objective criteria. This case underscores that while subjective assessments are necessary, they must be based on clear and objective standards.

The Supreme Court, in “Chief Secretary, Sindh v. Riaz Ahmed Massan” (2016 SCMR 1784), discussed the deferment of promotion and proforma promotion. The Court ruled that once the reasons for deferment, such as pending disciplinary proceedings or unresolved seniority disputes, are resolved, the affected civil servant should be granted proforma promotion retrospectively to align with their contemporaries. This decision highlights the fairness principle in resolving deferments and granting retrospective promotions.

In “Zafar Iqbal Chaudhry v. Registrar, Lahore High Court, Lahore” (2016 PLC(CS) 813), the Punjab Subordinate Judicial Service Tribunal addressed the entitlement to proforma promotion when adverse remarks against an officer were expunged. The Tribunal ruled in favour of proforma promotion from the date the officer’s junior was promoted, emphasizing the need to rectify unjust delays in promotions once the grounds for denial are removed.

In “Muhammad Afzal Khan v. Registrar, Lahore High Court, Lahore” (2016 PLC(CS) 408), the Punjab Subordinate Judicial Service Tribunal dealt with the case of a judicial officer whose adverse remarks in Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) were expunged. The tribunal noted that after the adverse remarks were removed, the officer should have been considered for promotion from the date when his junior was promoted. This decision emphasized that once adverse remarks are expunged, the officer becomes eligible for promotion retrospectively, aligning with the fundamental right to be considered fairly for promotion.

In “Altaf Hussain Altaf v. Lahore High Court, Lahore” (2016 PLC(CS) 301), the Punjab Subordinate Judicial Service Tribunal dismissed the appeal of a judicial officer who sought proforma promotion after adverse remarks were recorded against him. The tribunal held that the officer had rightly been deferred for promotion due to his own fault and could not claim proforma promotion. This case illustrates that proforma promotion cannot be claimed if the deferment is due to the employee’s fault and not an administrative error.

The Lahore High Court in “Ch. Azhar Hussain v. Secretary to Government of the Punjab LG&CD Department, Lahore” (2016 PLC(CS) 693) addressed the case of an employee who was recommended for promotion but retired before the promotion could be implemented. The Court held that the petitioner had a vested right to be considered for promotion once recommended and directed the department to grant him proforma promotion, thereby entitling him to higher emoluments and pensionary benefits. This case underscores that the failure of administrative processes should not deprive employees of their rightful promotions.

In “Iftikhar Ullah v. Government of Sindh” (2016 PLC(CS) 1177), the Karachi High Court dealt with the recovery of financial benefits accrued due to proforma promotion. The Court ruled that the civil court had jurisdiction over the matter, not the Service Tribunal. This case emphasizes that proforma promotion cases involving financial compensation fall under the civil court’s jurisdiction, especially when there are issues of natural justice and fair trial.

The Islamabad High Court, in “The Prime Minister v. Maj. Retd. Mohammad Habib Khan” (2016 PLC(CS) 621), highlighted the preconditions for granting proforma promotion. The Court ruled that proforma promotion could only be granted if the appointing authority was satisfied that the civil servant was wrongfully prevented from rendering service in a higher post for no fault of their own. This decision clarifies that the declaration of entitlement to proforma promotion is within the exclusive domain of the appointing authority, not the judiciary.

In “Ch. Shabbir Hussain v. Lahore High Court, Lahore” (2015 PLC(CS) 1278), the Punjab Subordinate Judicial Service Tribunal explained that proforma promotion for a retired civil servant is allowed if the deferment was due to no fault of their own, such as frivolous inquiries or adverse remarks later proved unjustified. The tribunal ruled that the appellant was entitled to proforma promotion from the date when his junior was promoted, reaffirming that temporary administrative hurdles should not impede an employee’s rightful promotion.

The Supreme Court, in “Muhammad Ishaque Soomro v. Water and Power Development Authority” (1990 SCMR 924), granted leave to examine whether the proforma promotion was contingent upon passing a promotion examination, which was not required under the existing rules. The Court’s examination aimed to address potential discrimination where other employees in similar situations were granted exemptions. This case emphasizes the need for consistency and fairness in applying promotion criteria.

The key takeaways from the cases on proforma promotion in Pakistan are as follows:

  1. Administrative Oversight and Delays: Proforma promotion is granted when an employee is wrongfully overlooked for promotion due to administrative errors or delays. If the delay or oversight is unjustified and the employee was otherwise eligible, they are entitled to proforma promotion to remedy the lost opportunity.
  2. Timeliness of Claims: Employees must act within a reasonable time to challenge any supersession or delay in promotion. Claims for proforma promotion may be barred by the doctrine of laches if there is an undue delay in pursuing them.
  3. Fulfillment of Eligibility Criteria: Employees must fulfill all eligibility criteria for promotion, including the completion of necessary courses, satisfactory performance evaluations, and other requirements as stipulated in the relevant service rules.
  4. Removal of Adverse Remarks: If adverse remarks in an employee’s Annual Confidential Reports (ACRs) are expunged, the employee should be considered for promotion from the date their junior was promoted. The expunged remarks cannot be used to justify the denial of promotion.
  5. Pendency of Departmental Proceedings: Promotion can be withheld due to pending disciplinary proceedings. However, if the employee is eventually exonerated, they may be entitled to proforma promotion.
  6. No Fault of the Employee: Proforma promotion is typically granted when the delay or oversight in promotion is due to no fault of the employee. If the deferment or denial of promotion is due to the employee’s own fault, such as failing to submit required documents, proforma promotion is not granted.
  7. Jurisdictional Considerations: Matters involving the recovery of financial benefits due to proforma promotion fall under the jurisdiction of civil courts, not service tribunals. The judiciary cannot usurp the role of the appointing authority in determining eligibility for proforma promotion.
  8. No Automatic Right to Promotion: While employees have the right to be considered for promotion, they do not have an automatic or vested right to promotion itself. The appointing authority must be satisfied that the employee was wrongfully overlooked for promotion.

Factors that will prevent a proforma promotion from going through include:

  1. Laches and Delay: If the employee does not timely challenge the denial or delay of promotion, their claim may be barred by the doctrine of laches.
  2. Failure to Fulfill Eligibility Requirements: If the employee does not meet the necessary eligibility criteria, such as completing required training or having satisfactory ACRs, they are not entitled to proforma promotion.
  3. Employee’s Own Fault: If the delay in promotion is due to the employee’s own negligence or fault, such as failing to submit necessary documents or not addressing adverse remarks in a timely manner, proforma promotion will not be granted.
  4. Pending Disciplinary Proceedings: If there are pending disciplinary proceedings against the employee and they are not exonerated, this can prevent the grant of proforma promotion.
  5. Lack of Jurisdiction: Claims for proforma promotion must be brought before the appropriate forum. Civil courts have jurisdiction over financial claims, while service tribunals handle service-related disputes.

In conclusion, proforma promotion serves to rectify administrative oversights and ensure fair treatment of employees who were unjustly overlooked for promotion. However, employees must act promptly, fulfill all eligibility criteria, and ensure that any adverse remarks or pending proceedings are resolved in their favor to successfully claim proforma promotion.

By The Josh and Mak Team

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