The paper emphasizes on the positive and negative consequences of empowering Member of Parliament from a Bangladeshi Perspective

The paper emphasizes on the positive and negative consequences of empowering Member of Parliament from a Bangladeshi Perspective


The constitution of Bangladesh is the ultimate law of Bangladesh. The constitution has been amended so many times to serve the interest of the ruling political parties. The amendment has been done to safeguard the wrongdoings of the government neglecting and not caring about the betterment of the society, i.e. society as a whole. It stops opposing parties to have negligible effect on the policies being adopted. This constitutional reinforcement is an absolute element of parliamentarian dictatorship, as the aftermath of opposing a policy has been raised so high above that it demoralizes and de-motivates a politician with a better thought to express his/her opinion freely. This perfectly epitomizes the fact that even member of parliaments (MP’s) are not having the right to express to express their free, fair opinion so it can be easily visualized how the state of the general public are going on. So it has been made apparent that in our country we have got a mere paper separation. It has been rightly said that “What the constitution has done can very well be described as allocation of powers of the republic to the three organs of the government and it provides for separation of power in the sense that no one organ can transgress the limit set by the Constitution. Or encroach upon the powers assigned to the other organs. Any party or alliance that comes to the power next must make a concrete manifesto in order to clarify on how to deal with the flaws of constitution.


The Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh has been amended several times. The Constituent Assembly of Bangladesh adopted a Constitution which came into operation on 16 December 1972, exactly one year after liberation of Bangladesh. Since then and until the present government came to power the Constitution had been changed at least 14 times. Interestingly, apart from the Eleventh and Twelfth amendments, all other amendments have been done unilaterally by the respective governments. As a result those amendments received sharp criticism and resentment. The Eleventh and Twelfth amendments are real examples in hostile political environment in Bangladesh where government party and opposition party, among others, were united and stood side by side to bring necessary amendments to the Constitution. Let us see below briefly the changes the two amendments have made and brought, and the political and historical background which led and prompted the main political parties to be in one platform.

Constitution is an important written document in any country. It is the reflection of peoples’ wishes and desires. Constitution of Bangladesh itself declared its supremacy by saying “This Constitution is, as the solemn expression of the will of the people, the supreme law of Bangladesh, and if any other law is inconsistent with this Constitution that other law shall, to the extent of the inconsistency, be void” [Article 7(2) of the Constitution]. Constitution can, of course, be changed, but its change must be for national interest in accordance with peoples’ expectation and desires. National interest must be well above the personal, party or political interests.

Those who are in power will certainly not remain so for good. If they change the Constitution unilaterally, their opposition will change it when they will go into power with a 2/3 majority. In a country like Bangladesh where voters are led by emotional issues instead of policies, it is not difficult for a party at times to get a 2/3 majority. In this way there will not be a constitutional certainty and continuity in the county, whereas constitutional certainty and continuity are vital for democratic and political stability. We have seen in the past on many occasions how the Constitution was cut into pieces/mutilated in the name of amendments. Did those unilateral actions bring any fruitful results? Often they were counterproductive. Those unilateral amendments brought to the nation bitterness, animosity and hostility, for which the country has been facing barriers time and again in moving forward. Government should refrain from making major changes unless a national consensus is reached. It is worth remembering that the current government is neither the last not the final government. If there are lessons to be learned from the past history, the government should not be slow to learn those.


In Bangladesh, the present law or rule of constitution gives the majority party an absolute power to exercise over others, thus, opinion of minority parties becomes useless and meaningless, and the definition of democracy is that, majority party will rule country by taking approval of minority parties, which becomes invalid in case of Bangladesh.

According to the 70th section of constitution, if any member of parliament resigns from his/her nominating party, or votes against that party, he will lose his parliament membership. Even if during the time of voting he is absent or restraining himself from giving vote, will lead to lose his membership as well. The main insight statement of article 70 is that, parliament members by leaving their party or by voting against their own party, or by not supporting their party cannot bring down a change in government. According to constitution, if these restrictions are not there, buying and selling of MP’s will take place which is known as horse trading. In reality, it is true that, this type of trading in politics will drastically reduce ethical and the whole social standards. Thus, it can be said that, for the sake of extracting the most out of political-social relationship, restriction of unethical interchange of parties by members is not only expected but also its essential. Politically conscious and citizen groups support these constraints as well. But, it has a limit as well. Bridging the gap and drawing the limits are critical as well.

We support the main aim of article 70. Bringing governments down unnecessarily and retaining the downfall of respected MP’s ethical standards are welcomed by everyone. But doing so, we cannot make ruling party or its leader the emperor of absolute authority. Article 70 has given so much power to the government and its chairperson that even if a MP finds a decision to be against his values and morality; he will have to vote in favor of the power party’s decision (the chairperson’s decision). If these kinds of illogical, unethical, immoral voting are voting are forced to be given by the country’s highest organization and failure results in seats to become nil, then what are left for the political downfall?

It is noted that, constitution now has absolute parliamentary ruling system. Before, there was presidential ruling system. We came back from the presidential system to the parliamentary system for the second time in 1991, month of august through constitutional amendment. It was quite expected and a matter of time that parliamentary democracy will establish in Bangladesh, even before its birth, and it happened as well. But, by amending constitution in 1974, January, one party presidential ruling system was established. The president was made the hub of all sources of power. Politics becomes one party “Bakshal” (Bangladesh Krishok-Shromik Awami League) method as well as the government. This went on till the reinstatement of parliamentary structure on 1991 but that was also of absolute parliamentary ruling policy. Previously, it was the President who holds all the power, now it’s the Prime Minister. Our constitution has still continued the dictatorship precedent, so parliamentary democracy is just another name of the same.

In today’s world, rich-traders democracy can be of presidential/parliamentary process and it has to be decided based upon situation of respective countries, but none of the policies should be absolute. President and Prime Minister should be held accountable to his/her respective parliament/congress. The world’s most powerful American president is also accountable to the congress. UK president is accountable to the British parliament. There, if any proposal sent by the ministers are felt opposing by any of the members of ruling party, he can cast vote against his party or can restrain himself from giving vote. For doing so, his membership won’t become invalid, which happens in Bangladesh unfortunately.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister and other ministers though are accountable to the parliament, but with the force of the mandatory positive vote taken from the own party MP’s, they can pass any proposal or law according to their wish and they did so. Thus, due to absolute parliamentary ruling policy our head of government is the nucleus of absolute power which handicaps the cultivation of real democracy. So, in our country dictatorship and corruption runs hand in hand with parliamentary/presidential democracy as “Absolute power corrupts absolutely”. For the economic and social welfare, presidential ruling procedure is not at all acceptable. We have already taken parliamentary democracy, now we need to make it as much meaningful and people centered, although, craving for real democracy (peoples power) is not possible without gross changes in economic-social environment.


Indonesia offers the best example of removal from office by a political party. Indonesian parliamentarians can be recalled at any time by their party for a breach of party discipline, political principles or regulations. On a number of occasions, the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians has deplored the fact that Indonesian legislation gives political parties the right to recall the representatives of the people, disregarding the fundamental principles of Indonesia’s Constitution set forth in the preamble: sovereignty of the people, democracy and consultation among representatives.

Parliaments in many countries are not authorized to expel members permanently (Cyprus, France, Gabon, Lesotho, Norway, Romania and the European Parliament).[1] Other grounds may also be invoked, for example in Latvia, where members can be expelled if their knowledge of the national language is found to be inadequate for the purpose of exercising their parliamentary mandate, and in the Thai Senate, where there is a procedure for expulsion of a member suspected of unlawful enrichment or corruption.

Needless to say, permanent expulsion must remain an exceptional procedure confined to cases that are strictly specified in the relevant legal instruments. Otherwise, it could become a dangerous weapon —comparable to verification of credentials — in the hands of the majority.

Forfeiture of a parliamentary mandate pursuant to a judicial decision —usually termed “disqualification” — is a practice that exists in virtually all countries. The Syrian Arab Republic and the United States of America are exceptions to the rule, however under the American Constitution, only the House of Representatives and the Senate have authority to decide on matters pertaining to the election and qualifications of their respective members.

The world’s most powerful American president is also accountable to the congress. UK president is accountable to the British parliament. There, if any proposal sent by the ministers are felt opposing by any of the members of ruling party, he can cast vote against his party or can restrain himself from giving vote. For doing so, his membership won’t become invalid, which happens in Bangladesh unfortunately.


Choice of Decision Maker – Member can choose according to his own point of view.

Privacy – There may be some private reasons for him/her to accept/reject a proposal which he/she can apply easily.

Evaluation Criteria Ashonest opinions are received there is a better possibility of refining the proposal according to public interest.

Credibility As there will be better evaluation of alternatives credibility will be high.


In context to advantages of free flow of choice, there are some commonly perceived drawbacks as well. They are:

Horse Trading- Exchange of Member of Parliament can take place.

Unethical Practices

Social Instability

Abuse of Authority

Chilling Effects The chilling effects occurs when neither party is willing to compromise during negotiations in anticipation of settling a proposal. MP’s can remain stubborn and reluctant to adapt to changes (chilling takes place when the two parties take extreme positions and are not willing to move).


It is now necessary to amend the 70th article of the constitution to allow the Member of Parliament to cast their valuable vote using their judgment or evaluation rather than enforcement. But while doing so it also needs to be considered that snap votes are unable to destabilize a government using some stated conditions. Rule should be made that only by passing “no-confidence” bill in the parliament before the end of five year regime; a government can be knocked off. Power party MP’s can also vote in favor of the opposing party to end a governments ruling period. But there should be a rule that in the “no-confidence” vote, a list of the number of ruling party members who are supporting the issue alongside with a shadow cabinet (if the government falls) should be formulated. Thus, without specified “no-confidence” system a government cannot be made to fall although MP’s having the independent voting rights and MP’s cannot leave their respective parties. If they do so, they will lose their membership. These amendments are according to fifth republic of France and considering our political environment and situation. If these amendments are taken into implementation through various tests and experiments, then a healthy parliamentarian democracy will grow and democracy will receive an organized structure. Thus, a beautiful Bangladesh will start to prosper which we always dreamt of, a country without violence, less inflation and corruption, more economic prosperity and emergence as a developed country in near future. If we can reposition our political system, things will change rapidly and people can expect everything in their own wanted and desired way.

-Sirajul Hossain Khan

Former Minister, Bureau Chief (Pakistan Times), Sub Editor (Bangladesh Observer), General Secretary (BD United Nations Association)

“Kaler Alokpat” 2008


(1). Books & Articles

Khan (2008), Kaler Alokpat, Gyan Bitoroni.

Campbell v. General Dynamics Government Systems Corp., 407 F3d 546 (1st Cir 2005),

Bergougnous, G., Presiding Officers of National Parliamentary Assemblies.

A WorldComparative Study, Geneva, Inter-Parliamentary Union, 1997.

Copeland, G.W. and Patterson, S.C. (eds.), Parliaments in the Modern World: Changing Institutions, Michigan, University of Michigan Press, 1994.

Transparency and Members of Parliaments’ Financial Interests in the European

Union, Luxembourg, European Parliament, 1995 (W-6) and 1996 (W-6 rev.).

Sen, A. K., & Mitra, J. K. (2006). Commercial law including company law and industrial law. Kolkata: World Press Private Limited.

National Provisions concerning Ineligibility and Incompatibility with regard to the European Parliament, Luxembourg, European Parliament, 1997

Equal Voting Opportunity Commission, Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, 2003

345 F3d 742, 754 (9th Cir 2003) retrieved on 16th June, 2012

(2) Online

See,retrieved on 19th February, 2012,retrieved on 19th February, 2012,retrieved on 19th February, 2012,retrieved on 19th February, 2012,retrieved on 19th February, 2012,retrieved on 19th February, 2012,retrieved on 19th February, 2012,retrieved on 19th February, 2012 ( retrieved on 20th February, 2012

See retrieved on 17th June, 2012 retrieved on 20th February, 2012 retrieved on 16th June, 2012 retrieved on 16th June, 2012

http:// (, retrieved on 16th June, 2012 retrieved on 16th June, 2012 retrieved on 16th June, 2012 retrieved on 16th June, 2012 retrieved on 18th June, 2012.

( Equal Voting Opportunity Commission, Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, 2003)

345 F3d 742, 754 (9th Cir 2003) retrieved on 16th June, 2012

orthoniti, 165 Or App at 601 (citing BNP v.Govt , 95 Or App 193, 196, 768 P2d 433 (1989)), retrieved on18th June, 2012

(,retrieved on 18th June, 2012

Kaler Alokpat, 294 F3d 1104, 1108 (9th Cir 2002). (Circuit City Stores, kaler alokpat, 294 F3d 1104, 1108 (9th Cir 2002)., 2002)

McPhail v. Milwaukie Lumber Co., 165 Or App 596,

999 P2d 1144 (2000). (McPhail v. Milwaukie Lumber Co.,, 2000), retrieved on 18th June, 2012

(,retrieved on 18th June, 2012

For example the decision on Case No. IDS/10 Sri Bintang Pamungkas (“Report of the

Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians submitted to the 99″1 Inter-Parliamentary

Conference in Windhoek”, Geneva, IPU, 1998, pp. 83-93), Retrieved on 19th June, 2012.

the report by Mr. Lcandro Despouy entitled Functioning and ‘Jurisprudence’ of the 1PV

Committee on the Human Rights of Parliamentarians, Geneva, IPU, 1993, p. 254, Retrieved on 19th June,2012.

In Powell v. McCormack 39? U.S. 486 (1969), the Supreme Court ruled that authority to assess the qualifications of members was restricted to an examination of qualifications specifically mentioned in the Constitution. In the case of the House of Representatives, this means that an elected representative must be at least 25 years of age, have held American citizenship for at least seven years and be domiciled in the State where he or she was elected, retrieved on 19th June, 2012., Retrieved on 19th June, 2012 (, retrieved on 19th June, 2012.

Campbell v. General Dynamics Government Systems Corp., 407 F3d 546 (1st Cir 2005), retrieved on 19th June, 2012

In contrast, the court in 1989 v. politics, Inc., 113 F3d, 2012832 (8th Cir 1997) (In contrast, the court in Patterson v. Tenet, Inc., 113 F3d, 1997), retrieved on 19th June.

(, retrieved on 19th June, 2012.,Retrieved on February 26, 2012

[1] See,Retrieved on 19th June, 2012