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Legislation


Legislation Law making through the legislature was unknown to the people of this country till 1773 when under the Regulating Act 1773 British Parliament empowered the Governor-General in-Council to make Regulations, and since 1833 to make Acts following law making procedure of the British Parliament and since 1861 central and provincial legislatures made laws on central and provincial subjects respectively till the end of British rule in 1947, and subsequently till 1971 elected legislatures under the constitution of the country. After the Constitution of Bangladesh came into force on the 16 December 1972 Jatiya Sangsad was constituted from time to time through election to make legislation. Almost all the bills are initiated by the concerned ministry of the government except few private member's bills initiated by any individual member of the Sangsad in accordance with the parliamentary procedure. Relevant ministry generally prepares policy papers, drafts a preliminary bill and then copy of the same along with a summary of the facts for initiating the bills is sent to the cabinet division for placing the same before the cabinet meeting for approval. After its approval by the cabinet the ministry proposing the bill is asked to prepare the final draft bill for consideration of the cabinet. Then the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs at the request of the sponsoring ministry either prepares a final draft bill or vets the draft preliminary bill already approved by the cabinet, and then the final draft bill or vetted one is sent to the sponsoring ministry which ultimately forwards the same to the cabinet for its approval and after such approval the same is sent to the Sangsad Secretariat. Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs may refer the draft bill for examination by the Law Commission, and after receiving report of the Commission the bill is modified according to the suggestions of the Commission before sending the same to the sponsoring ministry. 'No money bill (proposing taxations, expenditure from the government fund or other financial matters) can be introduced in the Jatiya Sangsad except on the recommendation of the President. Speaker of the Sangsad then fixes a date for introducing the bill in the session of the Sangsad. Copies of the bill are placed before the members of the Jatiya Sangsad before introduction of the bill in the House by the concerned minister. Introduction of the bill is called first reading. Then another date is fixed for detailed discussion of the bill known as the second reading of the bill. At this stage bill may be taken up for discussion or referred to a standing committee or select committee or circulated for eliciting public opinion. The committee refers the bill to the House with its report. The bill with such report is taken up for consideration, and when the same is accepted the Speaker submits the bill clause by clause or as a whole to the House for vote. If amendments are proposed and voted the bill so amended is then placed for consideration of the House. The motion that the bill, as proposed after the second reading, be passed is called third reading of the bill. A bill is required to be passed by a majority of members present and voting. After the bill is passed the Speaker signs it and then sends it to the President for his assent. After such assent the same is published in the official gazette as an Act of the Jatiya Sangsad.

When Jatiya Sangsad stands dissolved or is not in session, if the President is satisfied that circumstances exist which render immediate action, the President may promulgate an Ordinance having the force of law as an Act of the Sangsad by publishing the same in the official gazette. But such ordinance cannot be contrary to the Constitution or to the provisions of any lapsed ordinance. Unless approved by the Jatiya Sangsad within thirty days after its first session the ordinance shall cease to have effect after expiry of that period. Detailed provisions are made by the concerned department of the government, if so empowered in the Act or Ordinance, for proper implementation of its provisions. Such subordinate legislation is known either as rules or regulations or orders. Such rules, regulations or orders cannot be contrary to the provisions of the parent Act or Ordinance. Similarly an Act of Jatiya Sangsad or Ordinance cannot be contrary to any provisions of the Constitution.

Subordinate legislation, as already noticed, are of three kinds: rules, regulations and orders. Subordinate legislation made by the ministries of the government are known as rules, by statutory autonomous authorities as regulations, and orders are made by the administrative bodies and local authorities through notifications. Concerned department or other authority, if so authorizes in the parent legislation, initially drafts the subordinate legislation and then send to the controlling ministry for approval, and after such approval the same is sent to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs for its examination by its drafting experts for necessary correction and modification. After the draft is finalized it is sent back to the referring ministry for its examination and final approval. After such approval the final draft rules or regulations are published in the official gazette. Without such publication no rules or regulations can be effective. [Kazi Ebadul Hoque]