University of health sciences: Mubashar’s appointment as vice chancellor held illegal

Lahore High CourtLAHORE: The Lahore High Court has declared the reappointment of Malik Hussain Mubashar as vice chancellor of the University of Health Sciences (UHS) illegal and ordered the Punjab government to appoint someone else as soon as possible.

A division bench of the LHC consisting of Justice Chaudhry Shahid Saeed and Justice Abdul Waheed Khan issued a detailed order on Monday after reserving its verdict on February 16 on three identical petitions challenging the appointment.The bench questioned why the search committee had recommended the reappointment when, it said, there were more qualified candidates and Mubashar, 67, had retired from government service. Mubashar’s tendering of his resignation, its acceptance and his reappointment all on the same day suggested that a hidden force had predetermined that he would again be made vice chancellor.

“In our considered view, the search committee did not search for a candidate but did what it was asked to do and recommended the name of a person decided by someone beforehand,” said the bench in its verdict.The judges said that the reappointment of retired persons was holding back younger people looking for jobs. “There is already a shortage of employment and millions of peoples in this country are jobless. Political interference in the recruitment of employees in government departments is no more a secret. In such circumstances, if the persons who are appointed to lucrative posts do not retire and hold the same permanently, how can the new generation come forward and prove its abilities?”

The court observed that the practice was also discriminatory towards others. “If the government high-ups intend to continue the appointment of their favourites after their retirement through re-appointments on contract or ad-hoc basis … other people who have no political influence in the society, but have more capabilities, are deprived of the same treatment”.

This, it said, amounted to discrimination, which both the Constitution and the injunctions of Islam prohibited. “In our view, the courts can only allow such practice if all the employees of the government from bottom to top are treated and accommodated in the same way, which …. would not be possible for the government to do.”

The judges said that the respondents had failed to show that the university could not run without Mubashar as vice chancellor. It noted that some of the candidates who had applied for the job had PhDs, while Mubashar did not, “which confirms the view that persons having even better qualifications were available to the search committee who were altogether ignored.”

The court observed that the UHS Ordinance made clear that the vice chancellor would not remain in the post for more than one four-year term.The petitioner had contended that the government had appointed Mubashar vice chancellor on April 7, 2003, without advertising the post. He reached the age of superannuation on July 31, 2005, but continued as vice chancellor “in violation of Section 47 of the UHS Ordinance,” said the petition.

His four-year term ended on April 11, 2007, but he remained in the post “illegally in violation of Section 12 read with Section 47 of the UHS Ordinance”. He tendered his resignation on April 9, 2011, and on the same day, he was re-appointed as VC for another term of four years. – Thetribune