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FPSC plea on CSS women's quota rejected

LAHORE, July 3(Daily Times): The Establishment Division has rejected pleas by the Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) that the 10 percent women's quota for each department in the Superior Civil Services (CSS) allocations not be implemented retrospectively from 2006, relevant officials said on Monday.

The officials said allocation orders for 2006, which have been pending for the last four to five months, have finally been issued, will adhere to the 10 percent quota for women in each department, and will be officially announced shortly.

The federal government announced the 10 percent quota for women in each department of the CSS and other federal (civil) departments as per the directives of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

The quota was supposed to be implemented 2007 onwards but some senior government officials pressured the Establishment Division to implement the quota retrospectively from 2006.

The move will adversely affect around 20 male candidates who cleared the CSS exam in 2006. These candidates are protesting what they call 'illegal allocations' and have filed a written complaint with the FPSC chairman, which he has not yet responded to.

Officials said the quota would take effect from 2006 due to pressure from the corridors of power in Islamabad and recommendations by the Women's Development Ministry to the prime minister.

In 2006, 272 candidates cleared the CSS exam against 227 available seats. Officials said there were 48 female candidates in the list and all of them would be accommodated after the quota is implemented. This will affect more than 10 successful male candidates in Punjab.

An FPSC official said that the matter had been decided under pressure from the top and the list of new allocations reflecting the quota had been sent to the Establishment Division.

An Establishment Division official defended the retrospective implementation of the quota. He said that para eight in the recruitment policy section of the CSS 2006 examination clearly stated: "The policy laid down above [regarding quotas, etc.] is liable to modification and any change which may be made therein will be applicable to the candidates for this examination."

Successful male candidates argue that the criteria for allocations was clearly defined in the CSS 2006 examination forms and did not include any mention of the quota. They also said the FPSC authorities had told them that the quota would be implemented from 2007. According to the 1973 Constitution, every new rule and law cannot take effect retrospectively, they added.

The 2006 CSS written exam was held in May-June 2006 while the result was announced in March 2007. The FPSC issued a press note on May 18, 2007 indicating the quota reserving 10 percent seats for women would take effect retrospectively, announcing at the same time that open merit had been reduced from 10 to 7.5 per cent, a candidate likely to be affected said. He said the move was unjust and demanded that the government review the decision.
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