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pakistan
Friday Jan 22 2021
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Out-of-turn promotion of police officers up for debate in Supreme Court

  • Supreme Court debates whether promotions can be given out of turn on the basis of individual acts of gallantry
  • Arguments against contend that out-of-turn promotions for any reason should not be condoned
  • Arguments for say such acts add to the individual's merit and strengthen their position 


ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday wondered if an act of gallantry (bravery) could be considered as a valid criteria for the out-of-turn promotion of police officers.

A five-member larger bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial and comprising Justice Maqbool Baqir, Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel, Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and Justice Muneeb Akhtar heard criminal review petitions pertaining to out-of-turn promotions of police officers.

Additional Attorney General Sohail Mahmood, Additional Advocate General Punjab Chaudhry Faisal Hussain Farid, Malik Qayyum, Barrister Ali Zafar, Chaudhry Sultan Mahmood and other counsels representing various police officials appeared before the bench to record their arguments on the matter.

Additional Attorney General Mahmood contended that the federation considers acts of gallantry at the time of compiling a performance evaluation report but does not recognise these as a separate criterion for promotion.

The Punjab government, through its Inspector-General of Police, submitted a separate report which stated that acts of gallantry could not be constituted as a criterion for consideration of a police officer for promotion. The report said that any promotion, especially out-of-turn, on the basis of gallantry was opposed by the Punjab Police Department.

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The Federal Ministry of Defence argued that honours and awards contribute to an overall improvement for individuals' career prospects by improving their merit when they are considered for promotion and other assignments.

The report added that there is no out-of-turn promotion system in the army but stressed that receipt of awards improved overall merit at an individual level.

In its order, the bench observed that one school of thought treats acts of gallantry as criteria for promotions, but it should be clear that such criteria should be relevant for ranks till the deputy superintendent of police (DSP). 

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The bench observed that the issue deserved careful attention as gallant police officers render services that are immensely important for law and order and maintaining peace in society. 

“In this regard, it would be useful to appoint a committee of experts to assist the court with their views on the subject,” the court said in its order.

The apex court subsequently constituted a four-member committee comprising Tariq M Khosa, Habibur Rehman, Afzal Ali Shigri, and Nasir Khan Durrani, and directed it to submit its views on the subject of inclusion of gallantry as criteria for evaluation, assessment of merit, and efficiency for promotion.