DHAKA: The constitutional debate about the posts of the advisers has not yet ended whether those posts will be retained or not. But the advisers of the Prime Minister are continuing their jobs.
Earlier about eight years back a writ was filed with the High Court which has still not yet been disposed of.
During last Grand Alliance government even in the parliament there was debate over the legality of the posts of the advisers. Late Abdul Jalil, general secretary of Awami League, raised the question over the joining of the advisers in the cabinet meeting.
In the constitution the adviser post was included only in the case of the non-party caretaker government system. Thenceforth in every government, the advisers are being appointed from outside the parliament member even they are getting the responsibilities of the ministries. These are done by the executive orders of the head of the government. On the other hand, the case of this legal matter is pending in the court.
When asked senior legal expert Barrister Rafiqul Haque told Banglanews that the advisers are not taking any kind of oath. They are getting appointed as per Rules of Business. Without taking oath they are taking part in the cabinet meeting, they are interfering in all works. This is surprising.
During last BNP-Jamaat alliance government, the Daily Amar Desh editor Mahmudur Rahman was appointed as the Energy Adviser of Khaleda Zia. Barkatullah Bulu got the adviser post of Commerce ministry.
At the ending time of that government in 2006, a writ was filed with the High Court challenging the legality of adviser post. In that writ, there was a demand a court order to declare the post of advisers as unconstitutional. The High Court bench led-by Justice Nazrul Islam Chowdhury issued a rule about the matter. In that rule, the court asked the government why the post of the adviser should not be declared unconstitutional. That rule has not yet been disposed of.
Banglanews had a talk with lawyer Z.I. Khan Panna, who filed the rule on behalf of his client. He told that we are again trying to make a hearing of that case after a long gap.
Why there was no hearing for so long time when he was asked. He replied that the cause of this delay cannot be expressed to the media. He also told that if the political situation does not favor many judgments is pronounced which brings disastrous situation for the nation and country as a whole.
He informed that the article 55(3) of the constitution says that, ‘The cabinet shall be responsible to the parliament’. Nothing has been told about the advisers. Whereas the advisers being appointed by an executive order are taking part in the cabinet meeting and actively participating in the decision making process directly. They do not remain present in the parliament like other cabinet members so they are not liable to the parliament.
He further told, there is no rule either in the constitution or in any law that the advisers can be in-charge of the ministries. There is no scope in the Bangladesh constitution or in any rules of business that allows appointment of advisers.
In the present government elected through the 10th Jatiyo Sangasad election, six political advisers are working under the Prime Minister. They are Political adviser H.T. Imam, Finance & Planning adviser Dr. AKM Mashiur Rahman, International Affairs adviser Dr. Gowher Rizvi, Security adviser Major General (Rtd.) Tariq Ahmed Siddique, Electricity, Energy and Mineral resource adviser Dr. Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and Information adviser Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury.
Earlier during last Awami League government these six advisers performed the responsibility as the advisers of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. There were more two who worked as advisers. They were Dr. Alauddin Ahmed, as adviser of Education, Social Development & Political and Health and Family Planning adviser Dr. Syed Modasser Ali.
According to the constitutional experts, the accountabilities of the ministers to the parliament is ignored if these advisers are appointed through executive orders.
It has been said in the article 55(1) of the constitution that ‘There will be a cabinet headed by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh. The Prime Minister according to her desire will appoint the ministers to form a cabinet.’
In the sub-article 6 of this article it is said that the President of the country has been empowered to frame rules for distributing government business and for conducting it. Accordingly, the rules of business are framed. Following that rules of business the Prime Minister distributes the responsibility. There is no legal scope in these rules of business to entrust the responsibilities of the ministries to the advisers.
BDST: 1333 HRS, FEB 11, 2014