KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the provincial government to continue the process of appointing the chairperson of the Sindh Board of Technical Education (SBTE) but restrained it from taking any final decision without the court’s permission.
A division bench, headed by Justice Munib Akhtar, passed these directives while hearing a petition challenging the fresh advertisements, inviting candidates for the appointment on the post of the educational board’s chief.
The petition was filed by Qazi Arif Ali, who said he has been serving on the board for 24 years. Currently, he is serving as the controller of examinations of the technical education board. He said that the posts of the secretary and chairperson of the board are lying vacant and the Sindh government has published advertisements for the appointment on these posts. He was transferred to the office of the Sindh Ombudsman but was later repatriated to his parent department following the Supreme Court’s judgment in the services case.
The petitioner said he was appointed as controller of examinations in 2011, adding that now he has become eligible for the post of the chairperson.
The judges observed that, on the previous date, a copy of the statute — Sindh Board of Technical Education Ordinance, 1970 — was placed on record. Along with the principal ordinance, attention has also been drawn to the fact that the ordinance was amended thereafter on various occasions, as per amending act/ordinances placed on record.
On Friday, Advocate Syed Shoaun Nabi placed yet another act, this time of 2015, whereby the principal ordinance has been amended again.
The judges directed the lawyer to ensure that an up-to-date consolidated version of the principal ordinance incorporating all the amendments is placed on record by or before the next date of the hearing.
The court noted that the present grievance of the petitioner is regarding an advertisement that appeared in the press on September 25 this year, which was for the post of the chairperson of the Sindh Board of Technical Education.
Nabi raised a number of issues regarding the advertisement and the petitioner’s right, which is being denied.
The bench members observed that, for the time being, as noted in the advertisement, it is stated that the term of the chairperson shall be for a period of three years. On the other hand, Section 16(2) of the principal ordinance apparently showed that the chairperson shall hold the office for a term of four years, they added.
The petitioner, who was present in the court, said he is in the service of the board for around two decades now. He also made a statement that the principal ordinance has not been amended insofar as the term of the office of the chairperson is concerned.
To resolve the controversy, the SHC bench issued notices to the provincial law officer to file comments of the authorities concerned by November 13. “Till the next date of the hearing, the process, as per the advertisement, may continue but no final action or decision on the same shall be taken without permission of the court,” the judges ordered.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 31st, 2015.