Public Servants (Retirement) Act, 1974
Public Servants (Retirement) Act, 1974 an Act to consolidate and amend the law relating to the retirement of public servants and to provide for matters connected therewith. During the British rule, the retirement age was set at 55 years and in Pakistan it was raised to 60. Following the emergence of Bangladesh, the retirement age was set at 57 under the Public Servants (Retirement) Ordinance 1973 (Ordinance No. XXVI of 1973) which was later repealed by the Act of 1974 without affecting the retirement age of 57.
The law is applicable to public servants, ie a person who is, for the time being, in the service of the republic or of any corporation, nationalised enterprise or local authority. It also includes a person who, on the basis of having been at any time in the service of Pakistan, purports to claim any right to employment in the service of the republic. The applicability of the law excludes those persons who are (a) members of the defence service, (b) teachers or employees of any university, (c) employed in or under a commission, committee or board set up for specific purposes, (d) a contingent or work-charged employees or workers as defined in the State-owned Manufacturing Industries Workers (Terms and conditions of service) Ordinance 1973, and (e) elected or nominated under any law to hold any office.
Some of the basic features of the Act are: (a) a public servant must retire from service on completion of 57 years of his/her age; (b) re-employment of a public servant in any manner in the service of the republic or of any corporation, nationalised enterprise or local authority is prohibited; (c) the prohibition for re-employment does not apply if it relates to any office specified in the Constitution of Bangladesh; (d) the President may in public interest employ a public servant on contract after his or her retirement.
One of the important features of this Act is the provision of optional retirement. Under this provision, a public servant may opt to retire from service at any time after he has completed twenty-five years of service by giving notice in writing to the appointing authority at least thirty days prior to the date of his intended retirement. The option thus exercised is final and cannot be permitted to be modified or withdrawn. Under the provision of optional retirement, the government is also vested with the authority to retire a public servant, without assigning any reason, if it considers it necessary in public interest to do so. This authority was accorded to the government by ordinance No. I of 1983 and made effective from 28 July 1983. The only condition is that the public servant, intending to opt for such retirement, shall have to give a notice in writing to the appointing authority at least thirty days prior to the date of his intended retirement.
The right of optional retirement given to the public servant is an unfettered right and the appointing authority is bound to accept the option, and has no legal scope to refuse to accept the option. Finally, the Act provides for withholding payment of retirement benefits to public servants in certain specified cases. Thus, if any judicial proceedings or any departmental proceedings are pending, instituted by the government or the employer, as the case may be, at the time of retirement of a public servant, he/she shall not be entitled to any retirement benefits. However, he/she will be entitled to the subscriptions to any provident fund and the interest thereon. The payment of any Pension or other retirement benefits shall be subject to the findings of such proceedings. [AMM Shawkat Ali]