Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1979

Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1979 As per Article 133 of the Constitution, Jatiya Sangsad may by law regulate the appointment, and terms and conditions of service of persons in the service of the Republic. The same Article authorises the President to make rules regulating the appointment and conditions of service of such persons until provision in that behalf is made by or under any law, and rules so made shall have effect subject to the provisions of any such law. Pursuant to the authority so vested, the Government Servants (Conduct) Rules, 1979 were framed and published in the Bangladesh Gazette extraordinary on 18 May 1979. These rules repeal earlier conduct rules made in 1964 and 1966.

The rules are made applicable to all government servants whether on duty or on leave within or outside Bangladesh serving in a civil capacity in respect of the government of Bangladesh. These rules are also applicable to government servants on deputation with other government agency, institution or authority. However, rules are not applicable to certain category of government servants of specific department for whom separate rules exist governing the terms and conditions of their services.

The rules designed to provide a framework for code of conduct for government servants intended to ensure safeguards against corruption, external influence on decision-making, nepotism, favouritism, victimisation etc. Contravention of any of these rules is construed as misconduct within the jurisdiction of the Government servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1975. A government servant found guilty of such contravention renders himself/herself liable to disciplinary action under the rules.

The rules are very elaborate, thirty-two in number, imposing restrictions and prohibition upon the government servant in specific areas of activity. Broadly, the rules fall under three categories. First, some of the rules impose total prohibition which applies to speculative investment, approach to members of Jatiya Sangsad or other non-official person to intervene on behalf of the government servant, taking part in politics and elections, propagation of sectarian creeds, indulging in parochialism, favouritism, victimisation and wilful abuse of office. Similar prohibitions are there debarring a government servant from using political or other influence. A government servant is further prohibited from approaching foreign mission or aid-giving agency to secure for himself/herself invitation to visit a foreign country or to elicit training facilities abroad.

The second category relates to rules requiring a government servant not to do certain things without prior permission of the government. These relate to acceptance of gifts beyond a certain limit, holding of public demonstration in honour of a government servant, raising of funds by a government servant, lending and borrowing, purchase and sale of valuable property, construction of buildings. Other areas include promotion and management of companies, private trade and employment, insolvency and habitual indebtedness, communication of official documents or information to others etc. In all such cases, prior permission of the government is necessary.

The third category of rules require that a government servant declares, through usual channel, at the time of entry into government service, the value of properties held by him/her exceeding Tk. 10,000. The rules further require a government servant to submit to the government an annual statement of assets in the month of December showing increase or decrease of the value of property submitted at the time of entry into service. Finally, a government servant is required to disclose his/her liquid assets when asked for by the government. [AMM Shawkat Ali]