Tuesday, January 21, 2020 | ePaper

Private room culture of the civil servants

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THE Cabinet Division has launched a move to verify a video where Jamalpur Deputy Commissioner was seen in an objectionable position with a female colleague in the private room adjacent to his office. Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam mentioned that a move was in process against Ahmed Kabir, an administration cadre official belonging to the 18th batch of Bangladesh Civil Service. However, the accused DC was made Officer-on-Special Duty yesterday. The five-minute video went viral on social media websites on Thursday, drawing widespread criticisms against the civil servant, who has been holding the post since May 27, 2017.
If a private sector employee had been found hugging one of his colleagues on social media there would have been an immediate hue and cry by various women's rights groups and he would immediately have been arrested and charged under the Nari Nirjaton Act for an action tantamount to gross indecency and mental cruelty. However since the person is a high ranking civil administration official there will at first have to be an investigation into whether he actually committed the act, despite there being overwhelming electronic evidence to the contrary. It is entirely possible that the investigation will lead to nothing, as the female colleague will be under tremendous pressure to say that the act did not hurt her in anyway or was not indecent, especially as she is likely to be his subordinate in rank.
Notwithstanding this, the government should ensure that a fair investigation is held and the civil servant properly punished, as definitely there is a rule for the conduct of government servants which states clearly that they can't abuse the power of their office-which is exactly what this DC appears to have done. Contravention of the Rules should mean that he is subject to disciplinary action under the Government Servants (Discipline and Services) Rules of 1976.
Though we're an independent nation, our bureaucracy is still following the old tradition and culture of British colonial era. In most cases we see that - the private rooms or chambers are the main place for corruption and abuse of power. From Secretariat to rural areas; the bureaucrats enjoy the private room facility. Why there would be a private room in the offices for the civil servants? Is it really necessary?  


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