Promotion matters of Civil Servants

A common query coming from our regular clientele often pertains to Civil Servants wishing to take legal action against their government institutions or know their legal status in terms of Promotion matters.

Promotion of Civil Servants is governed by section 9 of the Civil Servants Act, 1973.
The material below is meant to be a brief primer regarding the legal aspects in this regard.Please note that due to the technical nature of the terminologies and concepts used, you may find it easier to consult a lawyer from our team by calling us at +923005075993 or emailing us at jm@joshandmak.com.

The section states that ;

Section 9 (1) A civil servant possessing such minimum qualifications as may be prescribed shall be eligible for promotion to a [higher] post for the time being reserved under the rules for departmental promotion in the service or cadre to which he belongs.

Provided that the posts of –

(a) Additional Secretary and Senior Joint Secretary may, in the public interest, be filled by promotion from Substituted by the basis, posts in Basic Pay Scale 20; and

(b) Secretary may, in the public interest, be filled by promotion from amongst officers of regularly constituted Occupational Groups and services holding, on regular basis, posts in Basic Pay Scale 21,in such manner and subject to such conditions as may be prescribed.

(2)        A post referred to in sub-section (1) may either be a selection post or a non-selection post to which promotions shall be made as may be prescribed-

(i)         In the case of a selection post, on the basis of selection on merit; and

(ii)        In the case of a non-selection post, on the basis of seniority-cum-fitness.

[(3) Promotion to posts in basic pay scales 20 and 21 and equivalent shall be made on the recommendations of a Selection Board, which shall consist of a Chairman, and such other members as the federal government may by notification in the official gazette, appoint.]

  1. ACRs: – Grant of move-over from B.P.S. 17 to B.P.S. 18 denied to appellant on the ground that he had earned average ACRs during last five years–Validity–If there was no adverse report against civil servant and he gets average reports, such reports would have to be treated as “generally good” for purpose of move over–Average report could not be treated as adverse unless specifically so treated and then conveyed to civil servant as adverse report–Appellant having earned average report same being not adverse would be deemed to be generally good reports–Appellant would thus, be deemed as having been granted move-over from B.P.S. 17 to B.P.S. 18 with effect from specified date– PLJ 2000 Tr.C. (Services) 328
  2. Denial of promotion–Validity–Necessary parties i.e.. Junior employees who were promoted, were .not made party to appeal although they were necessary parties and even otherwise appeal had been drafted in vague and ambiguous form–Case of appellant, however, was considered alongwith many others for promotion but he was not recommended for supercession–Appellant had blemished record in that, he was proceeded against for being involved in misappropriation/embezzlement of public funds, resulting in awarding major penalty in the form of reduction to two lower stages for 5 years and he was not found fit for promotion in ACRs of specified years–Question of eligibility relating primarily to terms and conditions of service and their applicability to civil servant concerned is within jurisdiction of Service Tribunal whereas question of fitness being subjective evaluation on basis of objective criteria is not within jurisdiction of Service Tribunal–Service Tribunal, therefore, is not to sit in judgment over reasons advanced by Departmental Promotion Committee while superseding appellant–Record clearly indicated that appellant had been superseded for valid and cogent reasons. PLJ 2000 Tr.C. (Services) 354
  3. Entitlement to ante-dated promotion–Civil servant had been granted ante-dated selection with effect from 31.5.1992 while be claimed Antedation of Selection Grade on basis of Finance Divisions Notification dated 25.8.1991 which was to take effect from 19.2.1976–Civil Servants claim appeared to be most just and legal as compared with that of respondent, which was devoid of substance –Governments Rules when once promulgated need to be considered in their true perspective and impartially irrespective of status, rank and file of person desiring for a getting benefit thereunder–Selection Grade when once sanctioned by government should be extended to incumbents concerned–Objection of limitation in filing appeal apparently appeared to be not warranted for appellant was not responsible for delay and the same was caused by respondents in as much as his departmental appeal filed promptly was not sent for consideration to competent authority without any legal justification and in the event of delay, if any, same was condoned–Departmental appeal when not decided on point of limitation, same was thereby deemed to have been condoned–Selection Grade was allowed to civil servant on basis of relevant quota from 1979–Authorities were directed that case of civil servant be considered for grant of selection grade in B. 17 if found eligible from due date. 1999 Tr.C. (Services) 193
  4. Promotion: – Principles governing rules of seniority of civil servants enunciated under section 8 of Act are as follows Principles governing rules of seniority of civil servants enunciated under section 8 of Act are as follows (i) The preparation f a seniority list f civil servant belonging to a service, cadre or post by the appointing authority became a statutory requirement. (ii) The claim f a civil servant to a particular seniority in a service, cadre or post was declared to be not a vested right of such civil servant. (iii) The seniority of civil servants inter se belonging to the same service or cadre whether serving in the same deportment or office or not, is to be determined as provided in the rules. (iv) The authority f a civil servant appointed by initial recruitment to a service, cadre or post is to be determined in accordance with the rules. (v) The seniority f civil servant promoted to higher post or cadre is to be reckoned from the date f his regular appointment to that post, and that ;(iv) The civil servants promoted to higher posts in one batch, retained their inter or seniority as in the lover post. PLJ 1997 SC 393 Promotion would be regarding “selection post” or “non-selection post”–In case of “selection post”, criterion for promotion is merit while in case of “non-selection post” promotion is on the basis of seniority-cum fitness–No Civil servant can ask for promotion as a right and giving or refusal of promotion in a matter, which is within exclusive domain of Government Executive Authority–If promotion is denied to a civil servant, such denial could not be termed as denied by any fundamental right–Criterion for selection for promotion to higher grade rest upon decision of competent authority. PLJ 2003 SC 653 Appellant’s appointment as In charge, Muzaffarabad Division of Forest Department–Writ petition against–Acceptance of–Challenge to–Appellant belongs to prosecution branch in grade 17 and not Assistant Conservator of Forest–Fact that he is shown as one of Assistant Conservator of Forest subsequently in seniority list, does not make any substantial difference—Perusal of Rule 3 of Civil Servants (Appointment and Conditions of Service) Rules, shows that initial appointment of Assistant Conservator of Forest can only be made of a person who fulfills requisite qualifications–Held: Since appellant was not graduate in natural sciences, his appointment as in charge of Forest Division was not legally sustainable–Held further However, direction of High Court that “person holding office at time of issuance of impugned order, is allowed to occupy office forthwith,” does not fall within four corners of a writ of quo waranto. PLJ 1993 SC (AJK) 1 Post in civil service was either selection post or non-selection post–Promotion of selection post would be made on basis of selection on merit while promotion in non-selection post would be made on basis of seniority-cum fitness–Employee certainly had no right to demand or ask for promotion against selection post but he could certainly ask to be considered for promotion particularly when post in question was being filled, without promotion on contract basis–Appointment on contract basis could be ordered only when suitable candidates were not available for promotion on initial recruitment but employee being duly qualified for the post having experience of more than ten years on post falling post below the post which was required to be filled, and in normal course, such employee was entitled to be considered for promotion whenever vacancy occurred- Appointment of respondent on contract basis being violation of relevant regulation of Authority by itself, same was set aside with direction that employee being qualified for the post should be considered for promotion. 1999 Tr.C. (Services) 188 Petitioner’s claim for further promotion was considered by Selection Board on direction of High Court and was deferred for want of range experience and because of missing A.C.R. for specific years–Petitioner aggrieved by decision of Selection Board invoked jurisdiction of Service Tribunal, which vide impugned order rightly concluded that Selection Board’s decision if at all recommending petitioner to be promoted would be subject to the fate of writ petition–Writ Petition having been dismissed, Tribunal rightly observed that decision of Selection Board was conditional and therefore, interim order also lost its efficacy—Promotion of petitioner was subject to rate of win petition which having been dismissed even if Selection Board had recommended petitioner for promotion, said order could not have been implemented, in as much, as order in pursuance of which Selection Board had to meet and consider promotion of petitioner did not exist–High Court, however, had wrongly assumed jurisdiction bypassing interim order in pursuance of which meeting of Selection Board took place—Provision of Art. 212(1)(d) of the Constitution escaped from notice of High Court ousting its jurisdiction in matters where question involved pertained to enforcement of terms and conditions of civil servants–Petitioner on such score also could not claim relief–Leave to appeal was refused to petitioner. PLJ 2000 SC 1079 Conditions of eligibility for promotion of a civil servant to a higher post discernible from S. 9, Civil Servants Act, 1973 enumerated. The Conditions f eligibility for promotion f civil servant to a higher post discernable from provision f section 9 of Act are as follows: (i) The civil servant to be eligible for promotion to the higher post must possess the minimum qualification prescribed under the rules for that post. (ii) That promotion f the civil servant could be made only to a higher post for the time being reserved under the rules for departmental promotions in cadre or service to which such civil servant belongs. (iii) Subject to the conditions mentioned above, promotion f a civil servant to a selection post is to be made only on merit; and (IV) Promotion to non-selection post to be made on the basis, of seniority-cum-fitness. Seniority of departmental promotees is to be reckoned from date of their regular appointment in post as required by S. 8(4) of Civil Servants Act, 1973. PLJ 1997 SC 393 Respondents having qualified for promotion were placed in higher grade of Officer Grade -III with effect from 1.7.1994–Petitioner after lapse of about three years withdrew earlier staff order of placement of respondents–Service Tribunal through impugned order accepted appeals of respondents and set aside staff order impugned before it–Validity–Competent Authority is vested with power to terminate ad hoc appointment and could do so for any reason relatable to exigencies of service without show-cause notice–Bare perusal of earlier staff order would, however, show that respondents were to continue to work till vacancies in posts of Officer Grade III occur for absorbing them–That being so, Authority concerned had abused power vested in it in withdrawing staff order issued earlier in favour of respondents without giving show-cause notice–Service Tribunal was right in holding that principle of locus Poenitentiae was not applicable in circumstances of case–Appellant’s plea that respondents were not entitled to all allowances and fringe benefits as admissible under relevant rules to Officers Grade III was also without any force–Staff order earlier issued in favour of respondents specifically stated that respondents would be entitled to all allowances and fringe benefits as admissible under relevant rules from specified date mentioned in that staff order—Controversy raised herein related to individual grievances–Matter in controversy does not involve substantial question of law of public importance warranting interference, under Art. 212(3) of the Constitution. PLJ 2000 SC 930 Conditions of eligibility for promotion of a civil servant to a higher post discernible from S. 9, Civil Servants Act, 1973 enumerated. The Conditions f eligibility for promotion f civil servant to a higher post discernable from provision f section 9 of Act are as follows: (i) The civil servant to be eligible for promotion to the higher post must possess the minimum qualification prescribed under the rules for that post. (ii) That promotion f the civil servant could be made only to a higher post for the time being reserved under the rules for departmental promotions in cadre or service to which such civil servant belongs. (iii) Subject to the conditions mentioned above, promotion f a civil servant to a selection post is to be made only on merit; and (IV) Promotion to non-selection post to be made on the basis, of seniority-cum-fitness. PLJ 1997 Peshawar 10
  5. Question of eligibility and fitness–Jurisdiction of Service Tribunal–Extent–Appellant’s entitlement to promotion–Question of eligibility relates primarily to terms and conditions of service and their applicability to civil servants concerned; therefore, Service Tribunal has jurisdiction in such matter–Question of fitness however, is subjective evaluation basis of objective criteria where substitution for opinion of competent Authority being not possible, Service Tribunal has no jurisdiction on such question. Which has to be determined by authorities concerned–Appellant case was considered for promotion alongwith others but he being not fit was dropped–Service Tribunal lacks jurisdiction to sit in judgment over reasoning of Selection Board whereby appellant was not found fit for promotion. PLJ 2000 Tr.C. (Services) 333
  6. Right to be promoted–Promotion to any post, whether high or low is not vested right of Civil Servant–Competent Authority at its convenience, can promote officers to vacant posts in public interest and in this respect none has got any vested right to be promoted as a matter of right when any other person of his cadre and junior to him has not been promoted–Where application of Civil Servant for promotion was rejected as also his departmental appeal to that effect, he would have no right to approach Service Tribunal when no person of his cadre or junior to him had been promoted. PLJ 2000 Tr.C. (Services) 338

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