ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Establishment Division Secretary and all the chief secretaries directing them to furnish their reply to the plea until July 4 alleged exploitation of PCS officers at the hands of District Management Group (DMG) officers. A three-member Supreme Court bench comprising Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Anwar Zaheer Jamali and Justice Tariq Parvez accepted the petition filed by the PCS officers against the DMG officers for regular hearing. Counsels for the petitioners submitted before the court that DMG officers are deputed in the provinces, which affects the promotions of the PCS officers. Thus, they said the posting/deputation of the DMG officers in the provinces should be declared unlawful. They said the responsible DMG officers should be penalised for violating the Constitution and law for suppressing the provincial services. Punjab PCS officers under Article 184(3) of the Constitution have filed the petition. The PCS officers have challenged the legality of posting of the DMG officers in the provinces on the grounds that they belong to the federal service, hence, not eligible for posting in the provinces and districts. The prayer has been made on the premise that posting of the federal officers in the provinces can only be made under agreement between the provinces and the federation as envisaged in Civil Service of Pakistan (Composition & Cadre) Rules 1954 through which the provinces surrender specific posts for an All-Pakistan Service to be constituted of officers from DMG and the PCS. However, in violation of rules, no such service has been constituted and the unilateral posting of federal officers in the provinces is being done without any legal justification. The PCS officers have further prayed that the DMG officers have occupied all the important posts in the provinces, completely marginalizing the provincial services. Taking advantage of their preponderant position in the provinces, they have manoeuvred such rules and policies that have resulted in exploitation of the PCS officers in their own provinces. The petitioners said the condition in Punjab is the worst where all the provincial services put together have a very negligible share of three secretaries among 43 administrative secretaries while the PCS share is zero. Likewise, all the posts of the commissioners in the provinces are under the occupation of the DMG officers. There is not even a single PCS Commissioner. The petition further says that senior PCS officers have been made to work under the junior DMG officers. In gross violation of rules and misuse of authority, a section officer level DMG officer was posted as Secretary Higher Education in the Punjab. Another grievance submitted to the apex court is the slow promotion of the provincial officers. The PCS officers have to spend 16 to 22 years to get grade 18. Whereas a DMG gets grade 18 in 5 years and much before his actual promotion, a DMG officer is given the post of grade 18 or higher. A majority of DMG officers in grade-18 are working on grade 19 posts of additional secretary. Junior DMG officers with as less as seven years of experience have been posted as DCOs. Discriminatory rules have also been challenged. Minimum service length rules in each grade have been slapped on the provincial serves whereas there is no such condition for the DMG. According to the experts of public service law, the provincial officers, including the PCS, PSS and PMS, have been campaigning for their rights since long. Various governments paid only lip service to their cause and, in practice, gave a free hand to the all powerful DMG to thrive at the cost of the provincial services in their own province. Even the unanimous resolution of the Punjab Assembly could not mitigate their sufferings.