CG, its many actions extra-constitutional
JS special body states in draft report; blasts Iajuddin for stepping beyond constitution
A draft report of the parliament's special committee calls the formation of immediate past caretaker government and many of its activities extra-constitutional.
The report is likely to be placed in the House today.
It also accuses immediate past president Iajuddin Ahmed of exercising extra-constitutional authority regarding promulgation of ordinances repealing existing laws, sources said quoting from the draft report which was being finalised yesterday.
"The committee thinks, formation of the non-partisan caretaker government, and many of its exercised authorities were extra-constitutional," observes the report, after examining the caretaker government's jurisdiction allowed by article 58 (D) of the constitution.
Chairman of the committee, Advocate Rahmat Ali, told The Daily Star over the phone yesterday that the report would be finalised after some modification of the draft.
"I am trying to place the report in the parliament tomorrow," said the chief of the committee, which was formed on January 28 consisting 15 senior lawmakers, to select ratifiable ordinances promulgated just before and during the caretaker regime.
Asked about the committee's observation on the immediate past caretaker government and the erstwhile president, Rahmat Ali said members of the committee raised questions about their activities. "Their opinions will be reflected in the report," he added.
The report might prompt the parliament to bring charges of constitution violation against the immediate past caretaker government and former president Iajuddin Ahmed.
Participating in a discussion on a thanks giving motion on the immediate past president's address to the maiden meet of the House, many treasury bench lawmakers accused him of violating the constitution, and questioned the legality of caretaker government's many activities.
After the committee's report is placed in the parliament, it will be well within the jurisdiction of the House to decide whether to look into the charges, and take steps to resolve the constitutional quagmire, committee members observed.
A question regarding whether the caretaker government's overstay in power requires a legal coverage was also already raised.
The special committee already started figuring out a way for giving the almost two-year caretaker regime a legal cover, if required. The committee is scheduled to meet again today to discuss the matter.
Initially the committee members were in favour of providing the cover, but after consulting legal experts and deliberations among themselves, they now seem to be changing their previous position on the issue.
The constitution allowed the caretaker government to stay in power for only 90 days, but the latter ended up prolonging its regime almost for two years.
On special invitation of Law Minister Shafique Ahmed, two former attorney generals Mahmudul Islam and Rafiq-ul-Haque, eminent jurists Dr M Zahir, Azmalul Hossain QC, Tawfiq Newaz, and Barrister Fazle-Noor-Taposh MP attended the committee's meetings and gave their opinions on constitutional jurisdiction of the immediate past caretaker government.
They also helped the committee to select 54 ordinances for recommendation for ratification by the parliament, which were finalised on Sunday.
On the president's authority to promulgate ordinances under article 93 of the constitution, the committee in its draft report observes that the president may promulgate ordinances in absence of a parliament or if it is not in session, but the authority is limited.
But enacting new laws through promulgation of ordinances repealing laws enacted by a parliament is out of bounds for the president, the report adds.
Referring to the experts' opinions and article 58 (D) of the constitution, the report also says a non-partisan caretaker government is an interim government, and the foundation of its functions is that article.
Article 58 (D) says a non-partisan caretaker government will function as an interim government and will carry out only routine governmental duties with the aid and assistance of persons in services of the republic, and except in cases of necessity for being able to carry out such duties, it will not make any policy decision.
The article also says a non-partisan caretaker government will provide the Election Commission with all possible aid and assistance required for holding a peaceful, fair, and impartial general election to the parliament.
But the immediate past caretaker government promulgated 119 ordinances, many of which are not related to elections, law and order, and routine governmental work.
A total of 122 ordinances were promulgated since the concluding meeting of the last parliament, with three of those being promulgated just before the caretaker government took over power.