The High Court bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman issued the rule on Monday
The High Court issued a rule for the government, asking why the section 41(1) of the "Sarkari Chakori Ain-2018" should not be declared illegal, and also why the section should not be declared as contradictory to articles 26 (1, 2), 27, and 31 of the constitution.
The section 41(1) of the "Sarkari Chakori Ain-2018" states that a government employee can be arrested, before issuance of a charge sheet in any criminal case filed for matters regarding his or her official duties, only after necessary approval is taken from the authorities concerned.
The High Court bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Khandaker Diliruzzaman issued the rule on Monday.
The speaker of parliament, secretaries to the President's Office, Prime Minister's Office, Cabinet Division, Ministry of Public Administration, and two divisions of the Ministry of Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs were made respondents to the rule and they have to answer to the court within four weeks.
Advocate Manzil Murshid stood for the writ while Deputy Attorney General Saifuddin Khaled represented the state.
Earlier, on October 13, Supreme Court lawyer Manzil Murshid sent a legal notice on behalf of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), a human rights organization.
The legal notice was served on the government to scrap or withdraw seven sections from the "Sarkari Chakori Ain" (Government Job Act) which came into effect since October 1.
The notice pointed out that seven sections – 5 (2), 24 (1,3), 35, 39 (1,2), 42 (1,2,4), 51 (4), and 55 of this law – are contradicting the constitution, and other laws in the country.
According to the notice, Section 5 (2) of the law differs from duty conditions of government employees, while Section 24 (1), and Section 42 (1,2) have made Contempt of Courts Act inactive.
Section 39 stipulates the government has the authority to sack any of its employees, convicted of a criminal offence, the notice said; this has violated another law.
Section 51 (1) has the jurisdiction to repeal retirement facilities of government employees for conviction or misconduct, and according to Section 35; there is no option to appeal against the president's order.
"Such kinds of sections are contradictory with articles 27, and 31 of the constitution. For this reason, employees will be deprived of their acquired, and fundamental rights," Manzill added.
According to article 27 of the Constitution, all citizens are equal before the law and are entitled to equal protection of law.
Article 31 of the Constitution says, to enjoy the protection of the law, and to be treated in accordance with law, and only in accordance with law, is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Bangladesh, and in particular no action detrimental to the life, liberty, body, reputation or property of any person shall be taken except in accordance with the law.
Some sections of Sarkari Chakori Ain
According to Section 41, a government employee can be arrested before issuance of a charge sheet in any criminal case filed for matters regarding his or her official duties, only after necessary approval is taken from the authorities concerned.
The same section also says that in a trial, if an accused person is found to be a government employee, then the court will have to inform the concerned government office about the person immediately.
Section 42 states, any government employee will be sacked immediately once a court pronounces a verdict handing out a death penalty or imprisonment for more than one year, for any criminal offence.
Only the president can rescind the decision, and reinstate a sacked public employee, says subsection 3 (1) of Section 42.
But if the imprisonment term is for less than one year, the authorities concerned can reprimand, hold back promotion or increment for a certain period, demoted to a lower rank or to a lower pay scale, and impose fines, according to Section 42 (2).