Constitution of Bangladesh and its Amendments

Constitution of Bangladesh and its Amendments

Crucial Provisions of Constitution: Fundamental Principles of state Policy, Fundamental Rights, the Executive, Prime Minister and the Cabinet, the Legislature, Legislative and Financial Procedure Ordinance Making Power, Judiciary, Elections, Comptroller and Auditor General, Services of Bangladesh, Public Service Commission, Emergency Provisions, Amendment of the Constitution, and Miscellaneous.

Main Principles of the Constitution: The constitution has declared Bangladesh a Republic committed to principles of democracy and human rights; rule of law, freedom of movement, assembly and association; freedom of religion and international peace and harmony.

Constitutional Journey: Bangladesh began its constitutional journey with an ad hoc constitution under the Proclamation of Independence Order (10 April 1971) investing president (of the Mujibnagar Government) with all executive and legislative authority and the power to appoint a Prime Minister. This proclamation Order was replaced by the Provisional Constitution of Bangladesh Order,1972 which declared the members elected to the National Assembly and Provisional Assemblies of Pakistan in the elections held in December 1970 and March 1971 as Constituent Assembly of the Republic. The order changed the form of government to parliamentary system with a cabinet of ministers headed by the Prime Minister.

Important Amendments of the Constitution: Since 1972, the Constitution has undergone certain amendments and changes, some by way of constitutional amendments and some under Martial Law Proclamation Orders. The form of Government has also undergone changes quite a number of times.

* Fourth Amendment: The constitution was fundamentally amended in January 1975. Under the Constitution (Fourth Amendment) Bill 1975, the parliamentary system was abandoned and a one party presidential system introduced. From 15 August 1975 to 9 April 1979, there were several rounds of martial laws interspersed with civil governments. The governments, civil or military, during the period had neither abrogated the constitution nor observed it fully. Every regime ruled partly by decrees, partly by constitution.

* Fifth Amendment: All the constitutional anomalies were regularized and confirmed ender the Constitution (Fifth Amendment) Act, 1979. Under this amendment all proclamations Martial Law Regulations, Martial Law Orders and other Laws and tribunal made during the period from 15 August 1975 to 9 April 1979 were ratified and confirmed.

* Seventh Amendment: The subsequent Martial Law Proclamation, Chief Martial Law Administrator’s Order, Martial Law Regulations and ordinances were confirmed and ratified by the Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 1986.

* Eighth Amendment: This amendment of the constitution is highly remarkable for accepting Islam as state religion. In spite of being Muslim majority country, to take Islam as state religion has taken long time in the journey of Bangladesh statecraft.

* Twelfth Amendment: The multi-party presidential form of government had continued down to 1991 when the constitution was again amended in favor of parliamentary system of government. Under the constitution (Twelfth Amendment) Act, 1991, the Prime Minister became the executive head, and the president the constitutional head. The executive power of the Republic, according to the twelfth amendment, shall be exercised by the prime Minister and his/her cabinet shall be collectively responsible for the Jatiya Sangsad. However, all executive actions of the government shall be expressed to be taken in the name of President, though the presidency is vested with practically no executive power. Theoretically, the president has the power to appoint the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice. But such power is formal than actual. The President, like the Crown of Britain, holds dignity and grace, not power.

* Thirteenth Amendment: This one is constitutionally very significant amendment to the constitution is the Constitution (Thirteen Amendment) Act, 1996 which provided for a Non-Party Caretaker Government which shall work during the period form the date on which the Chief Adviser enters office after Parliament dissolved till the date on a new Prime Minister enters upon his or her office. The no-party caretaker government, which is headed by a Chief Adviser, is collectively responsible to the President.

* Fourteenth Amendment: This last one of the amendment of Bangladesh constitution is very important. In this amendment, women reserved seats in the parliament increased from 30 to 45 with the provision of constitution.

Conclusion: It is clear to us that the constitution of Bangladesh has taken its present shape through different vicissitudes of its journey. The amendments of constitution sometimes held to seek interests not only by various elected governments but by military rulers i.e. illegitimate authority also and it is always called the constitutional crisis of Bangladesh. So, constitutional provision should be set up only for the people.        

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