The Cabinet provisionally endorsed the draft law – Civil Service Act -2015 – in a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday.
“The law says there is no obstruction to an arrest once there is a chargesheet,” said Cabinet Secretary Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan.
“Once a court accepts a chargesheet, it is okay to make the arrest.”
Arresting a public servant will require approval, he said, but the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and other relevant bodies will be able to investigate and charge them with criminal offence.
Departmental actions are taken and criminal cases filed over irregularities in carrying out government duties. Instances of police making arrests are there.
But police or any other law-enforcing agencies will not have the jurisdiction to arrest a public servant before pressing charges in court, once the law is in force.
Describing the act as ‘momentous’, the Cabinet secretary said it was being discussed for many years.
Civil servants currently function under the regulations enacted by the president, while different others rules and regulations are in place for them.
The Cabinet secretary said the definition of ‘public servant’ would not cover many working for the republic.
“The law says some categories will be beyond this law.
“For example, those who are in constitutional positions, judicial service, Supreme Court, defence and railway, ad-hoc committees and temporary commissions, public universities, and local government institutions will not come under the purview of this law.
“They will follow their own laws.”
He said, “This law will cover only those who are generally called government employees like us.”
The existing rules would remain effective before new regulations were issued under the new law, he said.
The secretary said, “The government is entitled to restructure different services without affecting any of its servants.”
He said for instance, downgrading of any post would not affect the incumbent but would be effective for those who would be holding the office later.
Under the law, the government could establish permanent pay commission and administrative reform commission and review the salary structure, he said.