Monday October 18, 2021

SHC takes exception to appointment of junior officers at higher posts of revenue dept

September 18, 2021

The Sindh High Court (SHC) has issued a contempt-of-court notice against the revenue department’s registration, stamp and evacuee property (RS&EP) member over the appointment of junior clerks and other low-rank employees as sub-registrar or other higher posts on own pay scale (OPS) and additional charges in violation of the court orders.

Hearing a petition with regard to the appointment of sub-registrars in the revenue department, an SHC’s division bench comprising Justice Salahuddin Panhwar and Justice Adnanul Karim Memon took exception to the violation of court orders and observed that the presence of OPS officers in the revenue department reflected a complete violation of the repeated judicial orders which could neither be appreciated nor ignored.

The high court directed the member RS&EP to remove all such officials having charge of above categories within three days. The SHC directed the member RS&EP to appear in person as the court would examine how such violations of judicial orders had taken place.

The bench was informed by the petitioner’s counsel that sub-registrars and clerks had been

appointed in the RS&EP department on OPS/acting charge and were allowed to work on higher posts which was in complete disregard of the court orders.

The high court observed that the revenue department had been directed to involve the National Database and Registration Authority (Nadra) in respect of registration of revenue documents and verification of the identity of executant and it had been stipulated that there shall be mechanism for verification and that no document shall be registered by the registration officer except verification through Nadra.

The SHC pointed out that the constitution of a committee for promotions and appointment of sub-registrars had also been ordered with the observation that if the committee found any amendment necessary so as to make the relevant law more effective, it could propose amendments to the law.

The IG registration submitted that the summary in compliance with the court orders was to be placed before the Sindh chief minister after weighting by the law department. The bench observed that the summary for such mechanism should not be kept delayed as it had been discussed in a previous order that there was a possibility of fraud and cheating in land transfer matters resulting in true owners being deprived of their valuable properties.

The bench observed that the fraud in land record compelled the bona fide and lawful owners (defrauded persons) in a long lasting litigation and so the introduction of such mechanism should not be delayed and pending summary needed to be considered and approved. The high court observed that it was expected that such pending summary shall stand decided within 15 days.

A provincial law officer submitted that the summary also included a proposal that the registrar shall be of BPS- 15 though in Punjab, the registrar had the post of BPS-17. He submitted that there was a cabinet decision that from BPS-5 to BPS-16 posts were to be filled through a third party contract by reputable institutions.

The high court observed that the vitality of the post of sub-registrar could not be denied because the sub-registrar was the person who directly examined the completion of all legal formalities including identification of executants and their competence to execute.

The bench observed that the post of sub-registrar needed to be filled with the best persons. The SHC observed that it was expected that subject to enforcement of referred cabinet decision, the summary shall be approved if the same satisfied all codal formalities within 15 days as was committed earlier. The bench observed that there shall not be delay and preferably it shall stand decided within 15 days and recruitment rules shall be framed within two months.