12:00 AM, February 04, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 04, 2009

Half of ordinances to be left out

RTI among 44 picked to be made law; special JS body to review the rest

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Shakhawat Liton

The special committee of the parliament yesterday okayed for ratification only 44 of the 122 ordinances promulgated just before and during the immediate past caretaker government's regime.
The committee will keep scrutinising the rest of the ordinances to decide which of those also deserve ratification.
The Right to Information (RTI) Ordinance, and the Human Rights Commission Ordinance are among the ordinances chosen for ratification, according to committee sources.
Although the RTI Ordinance was not on the short list of 50, earlier prepared by an expert committee for ratification, Special Committee Chairman Advocate Rahmat Ali yesterday in the meeting personally urged the law ministry to include that on the new short list of 44.
The remaining of the ordinances okayed for ratification are related to financial matters, electoral affairs, and law and order situation.
Members of the special committee yesterday hinted that 15 to 20 more ordinances might also get the committee's consent for ratification, meaning near about a half of the total ordinances might not be ratified, ending up becoming automatically ineffective after 30 days of their introduction to the parliament on January 25.
On recommendation of the special committee, the law ministry yesterday directed the ministries concerned to prepare the chosen ordinances as bills.
The bills to be proposed in the parliament will be sent to the special committee again for scrutiny. The committee will then bring necessary amendments to the proposed bills during the scrutiny, committee members said.
Talking to reporters immediately after the meeting, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Shafique Ahmed said the officials of the ministries concerned were directed to turn the ordinances into bills, to be tabled in the parliament.
"Matters regarding finance, elections, and law and order were given priority in preparing the short list of the ordinances to be ratified," the law minister said.
He said ordinances promulgated by the caretaker government without having jurisdiction, will not be ratified by the parliament.
The special committee has yet to consent to ratification of the Upazila Parishad Ordinance, since the immediate past caretaker government had no jurisdiction to determine the functioning of the local government system.
Only the parliament is empowered by the constitution to determine the functions of local government institutions.
The immediate past caretaker government nonetheless repealed the Upazila Parishad Act passed by a past parliament in 1998, and promulgated a whole new ordinance regarding the upazila level local government's functioning.
The 15-member special parliamentary committee formed to scrutinise the ordinances, in its second meeting yesterday heard expert opinions before picking the 44 ordinances for ratification.
The experts earlier had recommended that 50 ordinances be ratified by the parliament.
In yesterday's meeting held in the parliament building, the eminent jurists said according to the article 58 (D) of the constitution the caretaker government was supposed to carry out only routine governmental work, and to do everything to ensure holding of a free and fair parliamentary election.
The caretaker government did not have any jurisdiction to do anything else, let alone taking any policymaking decision, they added.
"Most of the ordinances can't be ratified according to the article 58 (D) of the constitution," said Mahmudul Islam, a former attorney general also a constitutional expert, who attended the meeting on special invitation, to give expert opinion.
Echoing him, another eminent jurist Dr M Zahir, who earlier had worked as an expert to prepare the previous short list of 50 ordinances recommended for ratification, said "The number might be lesser now, as we are scrutinising more carefully."
The eminent jurists also questioned the caretaker government's jurisdiction to impose taxes without a parliament's approval.
The immediate past caretaker government imposed taxes twice during its interim regime, and made national budgets the same number of times.
The taxes imposed by the caretaker government through ordinances, were already realised too, the experts said adding that at this stage it is not possible to go back to the period prior to the imposition of the taxes.
"We have no alternative but to accept the reality. We suggested the special committee to insert a preamble in the bill to ratify the finance related ordinances, saying, we don't support it, but we are compelled to ratify it," Dr Zahir said.
About the experts' opinions, the law minister said, "They gave their opinions and we heard them."
The special committee will sit again with the experts on February 15, to complete the deliberation.
Sylhet Metropolitan Police Ordinance 2006, Barisal Metropolitan Police Ordinance 2006, The Code of Criminal Procedure (amendment) Ordinance 2007, The Code of Criminal Procedure (second amendment) Ordinance 2007, Criminal Law (amendment) 2007, Finance Ordinance 2007, Consolidated Fund (supplementary) Ordinance 2007, Consolidated Fund (advanced) Ordinance 2007, Padma Multi-purpose Bridge project 2007, Money Laundering Prevention (correction) Ordinance 2007, Electoral Rolls Ordinance 2007, Bangladesh Flag Vessels (protection) (amendment) Ordinance 2007, The President's (remuneration and privileges) (amendment) Ordinance 2007, The Paurashava (amendment) Ordinance 2007, Bank Company (amendment) Ordinance 2007, Rajshahi City Corporation (amendment) Ordinance 2007, Sylhet City Corporation (amendment) Ordinance 2007, Barisal City Corporation (amendment) Ordinance 2007, Court Reforms Implementation (auxiliary rules) (correction) Ordinance 2007, Income Tax (amendment) Ordinance 2007, Financial Loan Court (correction) Ordinance 2007, National Human Rights Commission Ordinance 2007, Acid Control (amendment) Ordinance 2007, Income Tax (second amendment) Ordinance 2007, Income Tax (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Grameen Bank (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Election Commission Secretariat Ordinance 2008, Money Laundering Prevention Ordinance 2008, Income Tax (second amendment) Ordinance 2008, Securities and Exchange (amendment) Ordinance 2008, National Board of Revenue (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Bangladesh University of Professionals Ordinance 2008, Anti-terrorism Ordinance 2008, Finance Ordinance 2008, Specification Ordinance 2008, Specification Ordinance (auxiliary) Ordinance 2008, Rangpur University Ordinance 2008, Representation of the People (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Representation of the People (second amendment) Ordinance 2008, Representation of the People (third amendment) Ordinance 2008, Insurance Ordinance 2008, Bangladesh Laws (revision and declaration) (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Local Government (municipality) (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Local Government (upazila parishad) (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Emergency Powers (repeal) Ordinance 2008, Financial Reporting Ordinance 2008, The Citizenship (amendment) Ordinance 2008, Public Money and Budget Management Ordinance 2008, Supreme Court Judges (remuneration and privileges ) (amendment) Ordinance 2008, and Trademark (amendment) Ordinance 2008.

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