The cabinet on Monday gave its final clearance for the draft of Defence Services Chiefs (Appointment, Retirement, Salary and Allowance) Act 2017.
The new law, which now waits to be passed in parliament, will allow defence chiefs to stay in office for the entire term even after the official retirement age of 59.
The appointment of the heads of the three forces has so far been dealt with in line with a circular, Joint Services Instructions or JSI, Cabinet Secretary Mohammad Shafiul Alam said.
"The constitution stipulates a law to handle these matters, hence the new law."
He said the JSI did not specify the tenures of defence chiefs. "The new law says they will be appointed by the president for four years."
The three defence chiefs currently draw Tk 86,000 each as monthly salary, which is equivalent to the monthly salary of the cabinet secretary.
Besides, they are provided with such facilities as residence, car, free medical treatment at military hospitals, assistants, and allowances for travelling, festivals, new year and recreation.
Last year a draft law was cleared by the cabinet providing for a maximum four-year term for defenceservices chiefs.
Articles 61 to 63 of the Constitution grant the government power to decide the appointments and salaries of defence services chiefs by enacting laws, Cabinet Secretary Md Shafiul Alam had said at the time.
“This is provided for in the constitution but there has not been a law in the past 44 years,” he told reporters.
Until now, these matters were decided with the Joint Services Instruction (JSI), which has no specification relating to term limits for defence services chiefs.
“The president appoints the chiefs of the three forces. They can head their forces for four years, including through periods of extension in service, if they are not retired or removed.”
“The term in office will be for four years even if that person has crossed the retirement age.”
He stated if a person who has one year left in service is appointed a defence service chief he or she can stay in that position for three more years if the ‘government wants’.