The High Court on Wednesday declared keeping a government employee as an officer on special duty (OSD) for over 150 days illegal.
At the same time, the court also ordered the government to take officials kept OSD for more than 150 days back to their original posts.
The court also directed the public administration secretary to form a committee headed by a senior secretary to determine the legal fate of the officers on special duty whose posts will be reinstated and to submit a report to the court through its registrar within 90 days after receiving the copy of the judgement.
A High Court bench of Justice Zubayer Rahman Chowdhury and Justice Sashanka Shekhar Sarkar declared verdict after the final hearing on a writ petition filed by former secretary Mohammad Asafuddowla in June 2012.
The writ challenged the existing system of keeping officials OSD without any reason for unlimited periods of time.
Barrister Aneek R Haque was the petitioner lawyer and Deputy Attorney General stood for the state at the hearing.
According to a circular issued by the Public Administration Ministry on October 3, 1991, the minimum number of days an officer can be assigned to special duty is 45 days, while the maximum is 150 days.
The court ruled that the circular does not support keeping an officer on special duty for more than 150 days.
Furthermore, petitioner's counsel Aneek R Haque told the court that paying salaries to the OSD officers are unconstitutional, since nobody can enjoy unearned money as per article 20(2) of the constitution.
A report submitted to the court by the Ministry of Public Administration on May 13, 2019, said that 3,605 officers have been made OSD in the past nine years.