The law may curtail the ACC’s authority to curb corruption in government, TIB fears
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has expressed deep concerns over the move to enact the “Sarkari Chakori Ain, 2018,” the new law on public service which prohibits law enforcement agencies from arresting government employees without prior approval from the government.
In a press statement issued on Monday, the anti-graft civil society organization said, the latest amendment to the law is contradictory to the constitution, which enforces equal treatment of all citizens in the eyes of the law.
They also urged the authorities concerned to revoke the new law, which is set to go into effect on Tuesday.
“The Sarkari Chakori Ain, 2018 holds provisions that are discriminatory against the public, including representatives of the people,” TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzaman said in the statement. “If this law is enacted in its current form, it will contradict with ‘Jatiya Shuddhachar Koushal’ (‘National Strategy for Fairness’), which was also implemented by the present government.”
He also said that the law contradicted with Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, which specifies the situations where police may arrest a suspect without a warrant.
The statement further said, while keeping trust on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s declaration to continue stern action against dishonest, and corrupt people, Dr Iftekharuzzaman fears people’s expectation that developed following the prime minister’s “zero tolerance” stance against corruption, as well as the government’s ongoing anti-corruption drives, may be adversely affected if this law is put into effect.
The controversial provision in the law will also limit the Anti-Corruption Commission’s (ACC) authority, and may also render the commission completely ineffective, he said in the statement.
The TIB Executive Director further said, the name “Sarkari Chakori Ain” itself is contradictory to the constitution, and it should be named “Public Administration Law.”
The cabinet approved the draft of the Sarkari Chakori Ain, 2018 on August 20, 2018.
After it was passed into a law, a gazette notification was published in the Ministry of Public Administration website on September 26 this year, saying that the law would go into effect on October 1.
Under this new law, a government employee can only be arrested after necessary approval from the concerned government authorities, before issuance of a charge sheet in any criminal case.
Cabinet Secretary Shafiul Alam said the new law had been formulated by amalgamating six existing laws.
“All important aspects of the previous laws were brought together in the new law,” he added, saying the new law will replace the six existing laws.
The laws are: Public Service Retirement Act; Services Reorganization Act; Public Service Special Provision Ordinance, 1979; Punctual Attendance Act, 1982; Dismissal and Conviction Act, 1985; and Surplus Government Employees Accommodation Act.