LAHORE - Setting aside the Punjab chief secretary’s order of 2013, the Punjab Service Tribunal (PST) on Wednesday ruled that Provincial Management Service (PMS) Rules 2004 be amended to fix promotion ratio of 63:37 for ex-PCS and ex-PSS officers respectively.

Previously, the ex-PSS officers had a share of 30 per cent seats in promotion to next grades as against 70 per cent of ex-PCS officers. After the PST verdict, however, their share has risen to 37 per cent as against 63 per cent of ex-PCS officers.

The Punjab Services Tribunal (PST) had last month reserved the verdict on disputed proportion ratio fixed in the Provincial Management Service (PMS) Rules 2004. The former Provincial Secretariat Service (ex-PSS) had filed a petition for revising the ratio for promotions. There was a long standing conflict between the two factions of the provincial service officers, the PCS and the PSS. The PCS claimed 70:30 ratio while the latter, the PSS, say that their share in the promotion must be 6:4.

Earlier in 2013,then Punjab chief secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa constituted a committee comprising senior secretaries to settle the issue. Committee members had divergent opinion on the matter. Two officers,  secretary law and secretary regulation (S&GAD), were of the view that the ratio of 6:4 was correct while two including secretary services and the social welfare opined that since the ratio had been settled under an agreement between the two groups, the PCS and the PSS, so the ratio of 7:3 was right. Moreover, they also said that the matter was time barred.

Before formulation of the PMS in 2004, the ratio of the ex-PCS and ex-PSS was 6:4. But after the new service was established the ratio was revised to 7:3 to the loss of the later.

A petition was then filed by the ex-PSS officers against former Punjab chief secretary Nasir Mehmood Khosa’s decision on disputed promotion share.

The ex-PSS officers had appealed to the tribunal to set aside the decision of the ex-chief secretary, revising the unfair ratio for promotions to next grades and allowing the promotions on proportionate basis in accordance with the cadre strength. The PST during 2014, in its short verbal order, had allowed the appeal and ordered the provincial administrative boss, the chief secretary, to send the recommendations to the chief minister, the competent authority.

In its detailed order, the PST wrote, “It is well established by now that the provision of any act or rule can be challenged any time by an aggrieved person. No period of limitation is prescribed by Limitation Act 1908.”

The court further said the appellants, in their representation before the Punjab chief secretary, had pleaded that the rules fixing the ratio of 7:3 for promotions were arbitrary, discriminatory and against the rules of natural justice.” The objection of the respondents that departmental representation of the appellants was barred by time is rejected, the tribunal wrote. The PST set aside the order the CS passed on March 28 2013. It said the impugned ratio of 7:3 in PMS Rules 2004 may be revised in accordance with the policy instructions contained in S&GAD’s letter SOR-II 2-54/76 dated September 25, 1980, which works out to be 51:49 for ex-PCS and ex-PSS cadres, respectively.

Former CS Khosa had rejected the ex-PSS officers’ request for reviewing the promotion ratio according to their cadre strength. It merits mentioning here that on March 28, a couple of days before his transfer to Islamabad as federal finance secretary, Khosa had retained the previous ratio. Instead of sending recommendations to the competent authority, he had issued the order on its own that the secretariat service officers’ thought was violation of the prescribed rules.

The ex-PCS officers had challenged the then PST order in the Supreme Court. The court after hearing had remanded the case back to the tribunal.