The government is looking to see what it can do for the 171 Bangladesh citizens from Hubei province of China who have registered to return home amid coronavirus outbreak there.
After the government asked to see who would be willing to pay for their return, the number who registered came down to 30.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen came up with the information while talking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here on Sunday.
He, however, did not give any date of their return as it depends on China.
Earlier, he had a meeting with Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming.
Dr Momen said China has been very helpful to Bangladesh throughout the process and recalled Chinese government’s support in bringing back 312 Bangladesh nationals from Wuhan city, the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak.
He said the Bangladeshis returned home after 14 days of quarantine.
"We have a list of 171. We are now thinking how we can arrange to bring them back who are willing to come. We don’t know when. It doesn’t depend on us. It depends on China's permission. There’s complete shutdown (Hubei province)."
The High Court issued a rule on Sunday asking why the section-43 of the Public Service Act, that states a government employee will be dismissed if he or she is sentenced a year or more in jail in any criminal case, shouldn’t be declared illegal and contrary to the constitution.
A bench of Justice Tariq-ul Hakim and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir issued the rule after hearing a writ petition.
The speaker of National Parliament and the secretaries to the cabinet, prime minister’s office, public administration ministry and parliament were asked to respond the rule within the next four weeks.
The Public Service Act was legislated in 2018. Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB) sent a legal notice on January 16 this year to seven secretaries concerned seeking cancellation of the section as it is contradictory to the constitution and HC verdict.
Getting no response from the secretaries, the HRPB filed the writ petition on February 9.
During Sunday’s hearing, Lawyer Manzill Murshid argued for HRPB while Deputy Attorney General Amit Das Gupta represented the state.
On completion of the hearing, Manzill Murshid said currently the maximum penalty for contempt of court is six-month imprisonment. According to the Government Servants (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1985, a government employee would have been dismissed from his post if he or she was sentenced any term.
But in the current act, an employee will lose his job if he is sentenced a year or more in jail. That means he won’t be dismissed if he becomes convicted on charge of contempt of court.
The section violates the constitution and impedes the implementation of the HC verdict, he added.