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Draft Civil Service Bill

Provision for Govt nod for arresting public servants

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The Cabinet on Monday approved in principle the draft of the 'Civil Service Bill 2015' with a provision of forming a permanent pay commission and administrative reforms.
The approval to the bill (Sarkari Karmachari Ain, 2015) was given at the regular weekly Cabinet meeting held at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Briefing reporters after the meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan said the draft law also kept a provision of taking approval from the government for arresting any public servant in any criminal case while discharging duty before the chargesheet is accepted by the court.
There is no bar in arrest if the chargesheet is accepted by the court, he said adding that administrative action is often taken in case of irregularities in discharging government duty. "In some cases, actions are taken considering the irregularities as criminal offences."
Replying to a question, the Cabinet Secretary said any agency concerned like the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) could investigate and frame chargesheet against any public servant for his or her criminal offences while discharging duties.
Musharraf Hossain also said this would not be conflicting with the existing ACC Act. "There's no ambiguity in the law. Everything is within the framework of the constitution and the existing law."
About the draft of the Sarkari Karmachari Ain 2015, the Cabinet Secretary said, "It's an epoch-making step as it has been in discussions for a long time about formulating a law under the Article-133 of the Constitution to look into the matter of appointment and other activities of the civil servants."
So far appointment and activities of the civil servants are controlled by the rules which were promulgated by the President in different times. The new law would look into the appointment and different aspects of the services of the civil servants, he said.
The Cabinet secretary said any previous law contradictory to the new law would be dysfunctional. The new law broadly defined the 'persons in the service of the republic' saying employees of some categories will remain beyond the purview of the law.
He said the services of the persons under constitutional posts, those of judicial service, Supreme Court employees, defence personnel, disciplined forces, railway employees, employees of any temporary commission, employees of local government bodies, public university teachers and employees and employees of development projects will be guided by separate laws of the organizations concerned.
Musharraf said necessary rules would be framed on 10 different issues for making the law operational. The rules would be framed on appointment, promotion, seniority, leave, posting, deputation and lien, conduct and discipline, retirement benefits, resignation and retirement, he added.
The Cabinet secretary said separate rules would be framed under the new law for examination for promotion, performance appraisal, career training and skill development, higher studies and training, privileges, incentives, disability, welfare and preservation of quota for disabled persons and backward communities.
Musharraf said no employee would be affected because of the restructuring of the service under the law, and government employees would be rewarded for any outstanding contribution to the service.  The retirement age of civil servants will be ascertained by the Public Service Act, 1974.
The draft bill will be sent to the Legislative wing of the Ministry of Law and Justice for vetting before placing at the Cabinet again for the final approval, he said.
The Cabinet also approved the draft of the 'National Disaster Management Policy, 2015, as a supplementary to the existing Disaster Management Act of 2012.
Musharraf Hossain said Bangladesh has proven expertise in disaster management while there is elaborate legal framework, instrumental arrangement and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in this regard.
He said that the policy is being framed as per the Article 19 of the Disaster Management Act. The Cabinet also approved the drafts of the 'Army (Amendment) Act, 2015' and the 'Air Force (Amendment) Act, 2015' in line with the earlier Cabinet Decision of transforming ordinances into laws promulgated during the military regime following the higher court verdict. Ministers and State Ministers attended the meeting. Secretaries concerned were also present.

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