The Daily Star, 07 January 2009
The caretaker administration led by Fakhruddin Ahmed has handed over power to the Awami League-led government along with fate of at least 114 ordinances to be decided about in the first 30 days in parliament.
The political government also has to decide about three more ordinances promulgated by President Iajuddin Ahmed-led caretaker government in 2006.
The law ministry has already initiated steps so that the government can complete the huge task within the stipulated time, ministry sources say.
The sources add proposals of two more ordinances — Local Government (Union Council Amendment) Ordinance and Educational Institution Governing Body Ordinance — await the president’s approval for promulgation.
After declaration of the state of emergency on January 11, 2007 Emergency Power Rules (EPR) was promulgated the next day. Later, more ordinances were promulgated to amend and repeal the EPR.
As the main challenge of the caretaker administration was to hold a free and fair national election, six ordinances were promulgated only regarding Election Commission (EC).
Of the six, the Electoral Rolls Ordinance (ERO), 2007 enabled EC to formulate a unique voter list with photographs for the polls.
While formulating the electoral roll, national ID cards were also formulated for the voters. The whole arrangements drew widespread appreciation from the people irrespective of political identity, belief and opinion.
The ninth parliamentary election scheduled for January 22, 2007 was postponed in the wake of protest by AL and its alliances over several issues including a flawed voter list prepared by Justice MA Aziz-led EC.
To let EC work independently and create a congenial atmosphere for the polls, the caretaker government also promulgated ordinances like Election Commission Secretariat Ordinance and Representation of People (Amendment) Ordinance (RPO).
The caretaker government amended RPO three times for electoral reforms. It promulgated 42 ordinances in 2007 and 72 in 2008.
Ordinances regarding the RPO have brought the political parties in Bangladesh under registration process for the first time. The ordinances also include a provision barring war criminals from contesting polls. But this provision can’t be applied unless the war criminals are identified through legal process, says a law ministry official.
Of the 114 ordinances, 44 are regarding fresh laws and 70 concerning amendment to the main laws. Promulgation of some ordinances including the one amending Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to meet the longstanding demand for separation of the judiciary also yielded huge appreciation.
Following a Supreme Court verdict in 1999 the then AL government initiated the process to separate the judiciary from the executive and later claimed they had failed due to time constraints.
But the BNP-Jamaat-led four-party alliance did not implement the constitutional provision though the government had five years between 2001 and 2006 to that end.
But Fakhruddin-led caretaker government separated the judiciary within a few months after assuming power.
Promulgation of the Right to Information Act is also considered another major step by the caretaker government.
The government in October 2008 promulgated the Right to Information Ordinance ensuring citizens’ right to information from all types of government and non-government organisations and institutions.
This ordinance also makes the authorities concerned bound to provide information upon request of the citizens. This is the only ordinance passed by the caretaker administration regarding the information ministry.
The government also promulgated four ordinances related to the commerce ministry including the Consumers’ Rights Protection Ordinance, which has also been considered a very significant step.
As part of the unprecedented anti-corruption drive the government formed the Truth and Accountability Commission (Tac) through promulgation of the Voluntary Disclosures of Information Ordinance, 2008.
However, the move drew widespread flak and Tac in its five-month-long tenure, which ended early this month, did not yield any significant achievement.
The Upazila Council (Amendment) Ordinance was marked as another significant move curtailing the authority of lawmakers over upazila council, the lower-tier of the local government.
Repealing the previous law regarding money laundering the government also promulgated a fresh Money Laundering Prevention Act, 2008 to check corruption, bring laundered money back and prevent use of money in offences including militancy.
Before the fresh one was formulated the government promulgated another ordinance in 2007 amending the Money Laundering Prevention Act formulated by the four-party government.
The Contempt of Court Ordinance, Government Attorney Service Ordinance, National Identity Registration Ordinance and Supreme Judicial Commission Ordinance also include the list that drew huge discussion from different quarters.
The ordinance repealing the Gram Sarker law formulated during the BNP alliance rule was also one of the major decisions of the government.
Nine of the ordinances are related to the functions of the home ministry, 21 to the law and finance ministries each, four to the Cabinet Division, 15 to the local government, eight to the education ministry, four to the commerce ministry and three to the establishment ministry.
Two ordinances were promulgated for agriculture, communications, culture, post and telecommunications and health ministries each and three for labour and employment ministry.
One ordinance was promulgated for the livestock and fisheries, planning, power, energy and mineral resources, public works, civil aviation, shipping and land ministries each.
The three ordinances Iajuddin-led administration promulgated in 2006 are Sylhet Metropolitan Police Ordinance, Barisal Metropolitan Police Ordinance and the other regarding terrestrial facilities for Bangladesh Television.
Ordinances Promulgated during Iajiddin-led caretaker government in 2006: Sylhet Metropolitan Police Ordinance, Barisal Metropolitan Police Ordinance, Keeping the Terrestrial Television Broadcast Technology for Bangladesh Television Ordinance.
Ordinances promulgated during Fakhruddin-led caretaker government in 2007:
1. Emergency Powers Ordinance, Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment),
2. Special Powers (Amendment) Ordinance,
3. Code of Criminal Procedure (Second Amendment),
4. Law and Order Breaching Crime (Speedy Trial) (Correction),
5. Emergency Powers (correction) Ordinance,
6. Anti Corruption Commission (correction) Ordinance,
7. Criminal Law Amendment (Amendment) Ordinance,
8. Members of Parliament (Remuneration and Allowances) (Amendment) Ordinance,
9. Finance Ordinance,
10. Joint Account (Supplementary grants and specification) Ordinance,
12. Joint Account (Advance grants and specification),
13. Bangladesh Biman Corporation (Amendment) Ordinance,
14. Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project (Land Acquiring) Ordinance,
15. Public Procurement (Correction) Ordinance,
16. Bar Council (temporary rule) Ordinance,
17. Money Laundering Prevention (correction) Ordinance,
18. Voter List Ordinance,
19. Bangladesh Flag Vessels (protection) (Amendment) Ordinance,
20. President’s (Remuneration and Privileges) (Amendment) Ordinance,
21. Paurashava (Amendment) Ordinance,
22. Bank Company (correction) Ordinance,
23. Chittagong City Corporation (Amendment) Ordinance,
24. Dhaka City Corporation (Amendment) Ordinance,
25. Khulna City Corporation (Amendment) Ordinance,
26. Rajshahi City Corporation (correction) Ordinance,
27. Sylhet City Corporation (Correction) Ordinance,
28. Barisal City Bangladesh (Correction) Ordinance,
29. Court Reforms Implementation (auxiliary rules) (Correction) Ordinance,
30. Pesticides (Amendment) Ordinance,
31. Mobile Court Ordinance,
32. Income Tax (Amendment) Ordinance,
33. EPZ Workers Organisation and Industrial Relations (correction) Ordinance,
34. Anti Corruption Commission (second correction) Ordinance,
35. Islamic University (Amendment) Ordinance,
36. Islamic University (Amendment) (Amendment) Ordinance,
37. Islamic University (correction) Ordinance,
38. Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge Authority (Amendment) Ordinance,
39. Financial Loan Court (correction) Ordinance,
40. National Human Rights Commission Ordinance,
41. Acid Control (correction) Ordinance,
42. Income Tax (Second Amendment) Ordinance.
Ordinances promulgated in 2008:
43. Income tax (Amendment) Ordinance,
44. Trademark Ordinance,
45. Muslim Marriages and Divorces (Registration) (Amendment) Ordinance,
46. Grameen Bank (Amendment) Ordinance,
47. Election Commission Secretariat Ordinance,
48. Supreme Judicial Council Ordinance,
49. Fertiliser (Management) (Correction) Ordinance,
50. Members of the Bangladesh Public Service Commission (Terms and Conditions Service) (Amendment) Ordinance,
51. Law and Order Breaching Crime (Speedy Trial) (correction) Ordinance,
52. Bar Council (temporary rules0 (corrections) Ordinance,
53. Upazilla Parishad (correction) Ordinance,
54. Money Laundering Prevention Ordinance,
55. Income Tax (second amendment) Ordinance,
56. Bangladesh Labour (correction) Ordinance,
57. Local Government Commission Ordinance,
58. Local Government (city corporation) Ordinance,
59. Local Government (Paurashova) Ordinance,
60. National Identity Registration Authorities Ordinance,
61. Deputy Attorney Service Ordinance,
62. Fish food and Animal food Ordinance,
63. Contempt of Court Ordinance,
64. Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board (Amendment) Ordinance,
65. Village Government (cancellation) Ordinance,
66. Securities and Exchange (Amendment) Ordinance,
67. National Board of Revenue (Amendment) Ordinance,
68. Bangladesh University of Professionals Ordinance,
69. Voluntary Disclosure of Information ordinance,
70. Anti Terrorism Ordinance,
71. Supreme Judicial Commission (correction) Ordinance,
72. Chartered Secretaries Ordinance,
73. Medical and Dental Council (Amendment) Ordinance,
74. Local government (Upazilla Parishad) Ordinance,
75. Finance Ordinance,
76. Specification Ordinance,
77. Specification (auxiliary) Ordinance,
78. Public Servants (Marriage with Foreign Nationals) (Amendment) Ordinance,
79. Voluntary Disclosure of Information (correction) Ordinance,
80. Public Servants (Dismissal on Conviction) (Amendment) Ordinance,
81. Rangpur University Ordinance,
82. Dhaka Electricity Distribution Authorities (correction) Ordinance,
83. Deputy Attorney Service (Correction) Ordinance,
84. Representation of the People (Amendment) Ordinance,
85. EPZ Workers Organisation and Industrial Relations (correction) Ordinance,
86. Administrative Tribunals (Amendment) Ordinance,
87. Representation of the People (Second Amendment) Ordinance,
88. Insurance Control Authorities Ordinance,
89. Insurance Ordinance,
90. Information and Communications Technology (correction) Ordinance,
91. Consumers Rights Protection Ordinance,
92. right to Information Ordinance,
93. Bangladesh Laws (Revision and Declaration) (Amendment) Ordinance,
94. Representation of the People (Third Amendment) Ordinance,
95. Local Government (Pauroshova) (correction) Ordinance,
97. Local government (Upazila Parishad) (coorection) Ordinance,
98. Attorney service Ordinance,
99. Real Estate Development and Management Ordinance,
100. Emergency Powers (Repeal) Ordinance.