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Dhaka Tribune

Ministers attend office amid confusion

Update : 12 Nov 2013, 09:16 PM

A number of ministers attended their offices, conducting regular work, on Tuesday amid the confusion as to whether their posts are still valid or not after submission of resignation letters to the prime minister.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, Food Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque, Home Minister MK Alamgir, Primary and Mass Education Minister Afsarul Amin and State Minister for Home Shamsul Haq Tuku attended office on Tuesday.

Officials said the speed of work had been rather slow, a few ministers having only signed important files that had been pending. They said they had not, however, placed many files “to watch the overall situation.”

The ministers said their status as ministers was still legal as their resignation letters had not been submitted to the president yet for his approval. They asked those who had questioned their continuing in their posts to go to the court to legally challenge the matter.

All ministers submitted their resignation letters to the prime minister on Monday without mentioning the resignation date.

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed on Tuesday told reporters in his office that the offices of the ministers were not vacant yet as they had not submitted resignation as per the constitution.

Referring to article 58(1)(A) of the constitution, he said: “None of the ministers has tendered resignation for submission to the president. The resignation papers are still with the prime minister. It was only a formality.”

According to the constitutional provision, the office of any minister except the prime minister will become vacant if he/she resigns from office by placing the resignation to the prime minister “for submission to the president.”

Shafique said: “If the prime minister submits the resignation papers to the president upon the ministers’ consent, then it will be effective as their resignation.”

Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu on Tuesday said the resignation procedure had followed the course of the constitution and there was no scope for any debate over the issue.

He also said anyone with a different opinion could take the matter up to the court.

Food Minister Muhammad Abdur Razzaque said: “None of the ministers mentioned any date in their resignation paper as the prime minister will send it to the president when she thinks suitable. The papers have been given to the prime minister so she can prepare to form the all-party polls-time government.”

On Monday, Cabinet Secretary Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the dates on the resignation letters would be put once the prime minister accepted and decided to send them to the president.

Those whose resignation will not be accepted will remain in the cabinet of the all-party polls-time interim government.

Meanwhile, the civil administration on Tuesday suffered from indecision and lack of confidence. Many cases that could be resolved at the deputy or joint secretary level were sent to secretaries concerned as there was a lack of confidence among the junior officials at the Secretariat.

Several junior officers said they were sending the files to secretaries with notes for necessary action “to avoid possible harassment in the future.”

Requesting anonymity, a secretary said: “It is nothing new. Such situation prevails towards the end of the tenure of every government.” 

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