SC law officers demand its amendment
Though the legal experts have hailed the Government Attorney Service Ordinance 2008, the state law officers of the Supreme Court (SC) have strongly protested the promulgation of the Ordinance under which the Government Attorney Department has been set up for dealing with cases in courts and performing other duties on behalf of the state.
Sources said the SC attorneys (law officers) at a meeting recently decided to urge the government to amend some “discriminatory” provisions of the Ordinance including a system of two bosses for the law officers- one attorney general (AG) and another director general (DG).
The meeting was held at the office of the attorney general on June 5 with AG Barrister Fida M Kamal in the chair.
The meeting formed a committee to recommend that the government should amend the Ordinance incorporating the provisions for upholding the dignity of the existing law officers, their honourable farewell from the service or ensuring five years' tenure of their service and stopping appointment on deputation in the offices of the attorneys.
A law officer present at the meeting told The Daily Star that complexities would arise between the AG office and the attorney department due to some discriminatory provisions of the Ordinance.
“If those discriminatory provisions are not amended or repealed, the law officers may resign from their offices,” he added.
He said the provision of the Attorney Service Ordinance for replacing the existing attorneys within two years is a blow to their honour and dignity, since they (attorneys) have come to serve the state for five years leaving their independent practice and seniors' chambers.
“The attorneys are all practicing lawyers. A joint secretary of the government has been appointed as a boss of the law officers. A bureaucrat cannot be our boss,” he said.
The attorney said in accordance with the provisions of the Ordinance, the services of the attorneys might remain valid for next two years if the government desires.
“But if the government doesn't want, our services will end at any time. We will propose to the government to amend the Ordinance with a provision for ensuring our jobs for five years,” he added.
There are 77 attorneys including the attorney general for dealing with cases for the state and most of them were appointed in June last for five years as per President's Order No 6 of 1972.
However, the newly appointed DG of the attorney department Md Israil Hossain said there was no possibility of misunderstanding or conflict between the attorney general's office and the attorney department as the department will function in accordance with the law.
“The existing attorneys who are now serving under the attorney general (AG) can continue their service as per the existing rules. The attorney department will not interfere in performing their duties,” he said.
While talking to The Daily Star on Thursday last, Israil informed that as per the Government Attorney Service Ordinance, the attorney department would appoint new law officers for the Supreme Court within two years and for the district within three years through the Public Service Commission (PSC).
“As per the provisions of the Ordinance, the present attorneys can continue their jobs during this period. They will be replaced after the appointment of the new law officers,” he added.
Israil said the attorney department would recruit the law officers with transparency, neutrality and responsibility, as the Judicial Service Commission has recently appointed 390 judges for subordinate judiciary and all sections have appreciated those appointments.