ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court dismissed on Friday 24 identical petitions filed by over 50 senior officers of Punjab police seeking review of its 2013 order regarding out-of-turn promotions.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali had on Dec 14 this year reserved the judgement on the petitions, but held that the officers promoted through orders of the superior courts or service tribunals would retain their present positions.
Some officers, who were not promoted out of turn, had approached the courts and service tribunals and secured the promotions in the light of the judicial verdict.
The apex court directed the inspector general of Punjab police, home secretary and establishment division “to comply with the judgement by fixing the seniority of all police officers who were given out-of-turn promotions, along with their batchmates, as if they were never given out-of-turn promotions”.
In 2013, the apex court had declared the out-of-turn promotion a violation of the Constitution and ruled that no police officer or civil servant was entitled to such promotion on account of gallantry award or otherwise.
In its Friday’s verdict, the court, however, noted that there was no room for the “accelerated promotions” as under the law, the award for decorations might be given by the president.
In pursuance of the court’s 2013 order, hundreds of officers of Punjab police, including 20 superintendents of police, were demoted.
Most of the petitioners had contended before the apex court that since they had been promoted under Section 8 (a) of Police Rules, they did not fall under the 2013 judgement. They said the provincial government had granted the promotion in accordance with the relevant provisions of law and in compliance with verdicts of the Supreme Court and, therefore, could not be reopened retrospectively to prejudice the rights of the petitioners.
They said the promotion was based on strict criteria as prescribed in relevant laws and rules and after duly examining the petitioners’ performance and qualification by the provincial selection board. They argued that the promotion also did not violate any constitutional provision and that the government had the right to classify the officers in terms of their performance, integrity and qualification.
Punjab police informed the Supreme Court in July that they had withdrawn 10,884 out-of-turn promotions of officers of different ranks.
During the hearing on Jan 26 this year, the apex court had expressed its displeasure over non-compliance of the 2013 verdict and warned of initiating contempt proceedings against the IG, home secretary and chief secretary.
A Punjab police report stated that out-of-turn promotions granted to 66 DSPs had been withdrawn; they were either transferred or removed from their post.
courtesy : dawn news