Arrest of Govt Officials: HC questions legality of prior permission
The High Court yesterday questioned the legality of the provision in a law that requires police to take the authorities' permission before arresting civil service officials on charges relating to their jobs.
According to section 41 of the Government Service Act, 2018, until a court accepts the charges against a civil servant, law enforcers cannot arrest the individual without the approval from the ministry concerned.
The HC issued a rule asking authorities concerned of the government to explain in four weeks why section 41 of the law should not be scrapped.
During hearing a writ petition, the HC also asked the respondents to show causes as to why they should not be directed to refrain from giving posting to suspended deputy commissioner Sultana Pervin, and suspended executive magistrates Rintu Bikash Chakma and Nazim Uddin, who allegedly assaulted journalist Ariful Islam Regan in Kurigram last year.
Another executive magistrate named SM Rahatul Islam, who was also suspended along with the aforesaid officials, was recently posted to Barishal.
In yesterday's rule, the HC also asked the respondents to explain why Rahatul's posting should not be declared illegal.
Writ petitioner Ariful's lawyer Ishrat Hasan told The Daily Star that the officials suspended after the incident in March 2020 are all fugitives in the eye of law.
Sultana, Rintu, Nazim, Rahatul and secretaries to the ministries of cabinet, home, law and public administration are respondents to the rule.
The HC bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim and Justice Md Mostafizur Rahman issued the rule after journalist Ariful Islam Regan filed a writ petition challenging the section of the law in question and seeking necessary directives.
Ariful's lawyer Ishrat Hasan said in the early hours of March 14, last year, a mobile court of Kurigram district administration, led by three assistant commissioners -- allegedly following DC Sultana's directives -- sentenced Ariful to one year in prison after arresting him at his home on charges of possessing drugs.
The HC on March 23 last year directed police to record a case in which Ariful accused Sultana, the three executive magistrates, and several Ansar personnel of assault and attempted murder.
The accused officers are fugitives in the eyes of law as they have yet to surrender to a trial court in connection with the case, the lawyer said, but police cannot arrest them because of section 41 of the Government Service Act.
The provision of the law is discriminatory and it is contradictory to the constitution, she said.