ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday declared the orders of appointment/deputation, transfers as well as postings, of civil servants and chief executive officers of statutory bodies, made by the caretaker cabinet/prime minister as void, illegal and of no legal effect.

A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and comprising Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry and Justice Gulzar Ahmed announced the reserved judgement in a petition filed by Khawaja Muhammad Asif regarding appointments, postings and transfers made by the caretaker government.

The court declared all the postings, transfers and deputations made by the caretaker cabinet/prime minister as void, illegal and of no legal effect w.e.f. date of issuance of notifications respectively, except the transfers and appointments of senior government officers including the chief secretaries and IGPs of any of the province during the election process. The court, however, ruled that the federal government, in exercise of its powers would be authorised to allow continuing any of such appointments, transfers made by the caretaker cabinet/government in the public interest, subject to requisite provision of law.

The court held that as far as the issue of notifications in the cases of (i) Mumtaz Khan (CMA 3451/2013), (ii) Muhammad Nadeem, AGM Marketing (CMA 3480/2013) and (iii) General Syed Wajid Hussain, Chairman HIT Taxila, are concerned, their notification of appointment shall remain frozen as process of their appointments had taken place before assumption of charge by caretaker cabinet/government but their notifications were issued by the caretaker government. However, the court ruled that the federal government through competent authority shall decide fate of their cases within 15 days after receipt hereof and copy of decision shall be sent to Registrar for our perusal in chambers.

The court further ruled that as far as contract employees are concerned, whose contracts have been cancelled or those to whom fresh contracts of service have been given by the caretaker cabinet/government, shall stand cancelled as holders of contract employment of both these categories deserve no interference in view of the judgement of this court in the case of ‘State Life Insurance Employees Federation of Pakistan (v) federal government of Pakistan’ (1994 SCMR 1341), because no relief can be granted to them in these proceedings as no question of public importance with reference to enforcement of their any of the fundamental rights arises.

As far as the cases of the transfers of the civil servants/employees before the completion of tenure made allegedly in violation of the law laid down by this court in Anita Turab case are concerned, the court held that the concerned departments of the federal government shall examine their individual cases on the touchstone of the principles laid down in the said case.

The court ruled that the appointments in autonomous/semi-autonomous bodies, corporations, regulatory authorities, etc, made before the appointment of caretaker government shall also be subjected to review by the elected government by adopting the prescribed procedure to ensure that right persons are appointed on the right job.

The court observed that the civil servants who have already been appointed in accordance with the rules/regulations on the subject ought not to be posted/transferred, etc., except in extraordinary circumstances, that too, temporarily.

“As newly elected government is mandated to perform its functions of achieving the object and purpose of welfare of the people for which it has been duly appointed, therefore, caretaker cabinet/government/prime minister, having no mandate of public support, is only caretaker set up and due to this connotation should detach itself from making permanent policies having impact on future of the country,” says the judgment.

The court directed that the federal government through the concerned secretaries shall take up the issue of postings of 100 officers on deputation from Balochistan, as it was pointed out during the hearing of this case on May 22, 2013 and accomplish the same, if required, in accordance with law.

The court directed secretary establishment to communicate the judgement to all other divisions, ministries and organisations for its implementation.

The court further directed that the case of the ombudsman be de-linked and it shall be heard/decided separately in view of the question of interpretation of law on the subject namely, establishment of the office of Wafaqi Mohtasib (Ombudsman) Order, 1983.

The Supreme Court on May 22, 2013 had suspended all posting, transfers and depuration orders made by the caretaker government and had observed that the caretaker government cannot give orders that are beyond policy matters.