No permission needed to arrest govt officials in criminal cases: HC

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The High Court today (August 25, 2022) cleared the way for law enforcers to arrest government officials in criminal cases without permission from their authorities.

The court scrapped the relevant provision of the Government Service Act 2018 which had mandated law enforcers to seek permission from the government to arrest public service holders in any criminal case against them.

The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo delivered the verdict following a writ petition filed by rights organization, Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).

The organization filed the petition as a public interest litigation on October 14, 2019 challenging the legality of section 41 (1) of the Government Service Act 2018 which says that law enforcers will have to take approval from the authorities concerned of the government for arresting public service holders in connection with criminal cases before submitting the charge sheet.

Following the petition, another HC bench on October 21 the same year had issued a rule asking the respondents to explain why the section 41 (1) of the act should not be declared contradictory to the relevant section of the constitution and why it should not be scrapped.

Secretaries to the cabinet division, offices of the president and prime minister, the ministries of public administration and law and speaker of Jatiya Sangsad and the Anti-Corruption Commission have been made respondents to the rule.

During hearing on the rule yesterday, the petitioner’s lawyer Manzill Murshid told the HC that the section of the law is discriminatory and contradictory to the constitution, as all citizens are equal in the eye of law.

Appearing for the state, Deputy Attorney General Arobinda Kumar Roy opposed the writ petition, saying that the parliament has passed the bill on the Government Service Act, 2018 and in its section 41(1), the public servants have been given a protection considering them a separate class of people.

The section 41 (1) of the act is applied only when the government service holders remain on duty, he said.

ACC lawyer Khusrhid Alam Khan told the court that the HC has earlier scrapped a provision of the Anti-Corruption Commission Act that had given similar protection to the government officials.

*Compiled from The Daily Star

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