Zila Parishad (Amendment) Bill-2022 was passed in parliament today with the provision of appointing administrators in the local government body.
Opposition BNP and Jatiya Party MPs strongly opposed the provision, terming it "contradictory and against the spirit with the constitution".
They claimed that government amended the bill in a bid to appoint Awami League men as administrators to the Zia Parishad.
All the BNP and JP MPs took part in the discussion, proposed that the bill be withdrawn and sent to the parliamentary committee to elicit public opinion. Their demand, however, was rejected by voice vote.
According to the bill, Zila Parishad chairmen and members cannot hold posts after the five-year tenure on any excuse.
Local Government and Rural Development (LGRD) Minister Md Tazul Islam placed the bill which was passed by voice vote.
As per the bill, Zila Parishad representatives will have to leave their posts on expiry of their tenure. The government would appoint administrator/s to run the local body until the formation of the next council (parishad).
On January 23, the bill was placed in parliament and it was sent to the parliamentary standing committee for further scrutiny and report back to the House.
The existing law only provides for the appointment of administrators in the case of formation of new Zila Parishad, but there was no provision for the appointment of administrators after the expiration of the term of any existing Zila Parishad.
The duration of the administrator will not be more than 180 days. At the same time no one can be an administrator more than once.
Strongly opposing the bill, Jatiya Party MP Pir Fazlur Rahman said, "The provision of appointing administrator in the Zila Parishad is against the basic spirit of the constitution."
Another JP MP Fakhrul Imam said, "This bill can be cancelled before it is passed. If Article 11 of the constitution is taken into account, the bill will be repealed."
JP MP Shameem Haider Patwari said, "It would not be right to keep Zila Parishad even one day without an elected representative. The constitution states that any tax cannot be imposed without an elected representative. Then why should there be an administrator without voting?"
BNP MP Harunur Rashid said, "New provision of appointing administrator was incorporated in the bill in a bid to appoint Awami League leaders in Zila Parishad."
Mokabbir Khan, a lawmaker of Gonoforum, said the several provisions, including appointing administration to the Zila Parishad, conflict with the constitution.
In response, LGRD Minister Tajul Islam said that the government always gives importance to the people's representatives. He also mentioned that the government is working to strengthen local government institutions.
Tajul said, many public representatives used to file lawsuits after expire of their tenure and remain in that post for even 20 years.
"In a bid to prevent it the government has moved to appoint administrator [in Zila Parishad]. Due to that provision, no one would have the intention to file such case," the minister also said.