The cabinet yesterday approved the draft Sarkari Chakori Ain 2018 with a provision for the Anti-Corruption Commission to take prior permission of the authorities concerned for arresting any public servant.
"No public servant can be arrested until a court frames charges against him or her. A government employee can be arrested before framing charges only after taking prior permission from the authorities concerned," Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam said while briefing reporters on the outcome of the meeting at the secretariat.
According to the draft law, merit and open competition will be the main criteria for the recruitment of public servants, while promotion will be given based on merit, efficiency, seniority and performance.
The approval was given at the weekly meeting of the cabinet held at the Prime Minister's Office with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair.
The cabinet gave its nod to a total of eight agendas, including two more draft laws -- 'Infectious Diseases (Prevention, Control and Elimination) Act 2018' and 'Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kilns Construction (Control) (Amendment) Act 2018'.
A draft of the Bimstec Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters was approved for signing with Nepal.
The cabinet also adopted a condolence motion at the demise of some renowned personalities, including former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Opposition Chief Whip in Parliament Tajul Islam Chowdhury.
About the Sarkari Chakori Ain, the cabinet secretary said under the existing system, the service of public servants was controlled by different laws. "There's no specific law in this regard. But this law will control the service of public servants and all the issues of their jobs will come under the umbrella of this proposed law," he said.
Work on the proposed law was initiated about 10 years back and after a number of changes, it was placed before the cabinet for its approval.
The law will come into force once it is passed by parliament.
Shafiul Alam said the existing age limit for the retirement of public servants remained unchanged at 59 while it was 60 for freedom fighters.
However, the government can send a public servant to forced retirement on their completion of 25 years in service without showing any reason, he said, adding that similarly, any public servant can go on voluntary retirement on completion of 25 years in service.
He said if any public servant took a foreign citizenship, he would lose his job. But in the case of dual citizenship, nothing was said in the law.
A public servant will get financial support from the government to face a criminal case if it is filed for any cause while performing professional duties, Shafiul said. "But if he is tried in any criminal case for personal crimes and jailed for more than a year, he'll lose his job."
Under the proposed law, the government can realise compensation from a public servant if any complaint lodged against them by a citizen is proven to be true and if any citizen is deprived of any public service.
At the beginning of the meeting, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroj Chumki handed over two certificates of accolade to the prime minister. UNICEF conferred the accolades on Bangladesh on July 31 last for its success in decreasing the number of child marriages.
TIB EXPRESSES CONCERN
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) yesterday expressed deep concern over the draft Sarkari Chakori Ain 2018 approved at the cabinet meeting, with the provision for the ACC to take prior permission of the authorities concerned for arresting any public servant, reports UNB.
TIB urged the government to cancel the 'discriminatory provision' of the draft for ensuring skilled, people-friendly and transparent public administration, said a press release.
In a statement, TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman, said, "If the report published in different media related to the draft Sarkari Chakori Ain 2018 is true, then it will be contradictory to honesty, transparency, professionalism and neutral public administration."
Terming the law as contradictory to the constitution, Iftekharuzzaman said he feared that the said provision in the draft law might curtail ACC's power.
He also urged the government to take opinions over the act from all concerned by publicising it on their website before placing it in parliament.