ISLAMABAD  -  The Supreme Court has ruled that the civil servants working with the federal or provincial governments on deputation cannot be permanently absorbed in the Gwadar Development Authority.

A three-member apex court bench, headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan, Monday announced the verdict reserved earlier on a petition of Rafiq Ahmed challenging a notification issued by the Balochistan chief secretary for their repatriation to their parent departments after the expiry of their deputation period in the authority.

The counsel for the appellants had contended that when his clients, after having been appointed on deputation in the Gwadar Development Authority, were absorbed, they ceased to be civil servants. He said a division bench of the Balochistan High Court should not have dismissed their petition challenging the Balochistan chief secretary’s orders.

The counsel had contended that the appellants were appointed on the recommendations of the Balochistan Public Service Commission through a notification on October 21, 2002. He had further argued that they had worked in their respective departments till their appointment in the Gwadar Development Authority. The only question requiring consideration was whether the appellants were appointed in the Gwadar Development Authority on deputation and then absorbed in accordance with the law.

The court noted that paras 4.24 and 4.25 of Gwadar Development Authority Employees (Service) Regulation, 2006, provide for the method of appointment by initial recruitment and promotion.

The court remarked they also guaranteed observance of merit and the regional quota. It also noted paragraph 4.25 had provided for the appointment on deputation through the federal or provincial governments, but the appointment by absorption figured in nowhere in the regulations.

The judgment said the appointment by transfer had been explained by paragraphs 4.22 and 4.23 of the regulations, but that cannot be applied to the civil servants of the federal or provincial governments. “Having completed their normal and even extended tenure of the deputation, the appellants were to go back to their parent departments. Absorption of the appellants in the Gwadar Development Authority being against the law and rules was to be set at naught. The notification repatriating the appellants to their parent departments is, therefore, unexceptional,” the verdict said.