Warrant of Precedence
Warrant of Precedence lays down the relative precedence in terms of ranks of important functionaries belonging to the executive, legislative and judicial organs of the state, including members of the foreign diplomatic corps. The warrant or the order is generally used for the purpose of invitation of dignitaries to state and important official functions including their seating arrangements, waiting in time to receive and see off Very Important Persons (VIPs) such as the President and the Prime Minister when they go abroad and also receive their counterparts within the country. As an important part of state and diplomatic protocol, the warrant of precedence has been in practice in all polities in history.
In Mughal Bengal, the order of precedence was determined by such important considerations as the lineage and the ethnic status as well as status in the millitary, judiciary, and civil bureaucracy. In early British period, men in the judiciary took precedence over those in the executive. The order was, however, reversed after 1861 when the executive branch took precedence over the judicial branch of the state. The military, in those days, occupied the third position, and this trend continued throughout the colonial period. For the natives, the priority in position was determined according to the weight of the titles conferred upon them by the British government, such as Maharaja, Raja, Nawab, Sir, Sultan, Roy Bahadur, Khan Bahadur, etc. The inter se precedence of these titled nobles was again determined by their ancestry, size of the landed estates of the titled holders etc. The non-landed gentry, however, lay in the lowest strata of the native titled hierarchy.
The earliest warrant of precedence set up after the creation of Pakistan dates back to 1950 which was a provisional order of the Government of Pakistan. This particular order was issued by the Home division of the Ministry of Interior of the Government of Pakistan. In this Order, the military and the civil bureaucracy got the highest status.
After the emergence of Bangladesh, the warrant of precedence has been amended several times since 1972. On 16 October 1975, the Cabinet Division of the Government of Bangladesh issued a warrant of precedence superceding all previous notifications on the subject. Further amendments were made on 22 November 1983 and 1 December 1984. In September 1986, the cabinet division issued a new warrant of precedence superceding all previous notifications. This is still in use with some amendments made in October 1987, in March 1988, in December 1991 and again in March 2000. The major amendments in the warrant of precedence were however made in December 1991 when the country was switched over from presidential to parliamentary form of government. Under this particular amendment, the Prime Minister has been placed second in order of precedence next to the President whereas in an earlier order issued in 1986, the Prime Minister was placed fourth after the President, the Vice President, and the Speaker.
The latest warrant of precedence has altogether 25 articles, which are in the following order:
|1.||President of the Republic;|
|2.||Prime Minister of the Republic;|
|3.||Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad;|
|4.||Chief Justice of Bangladesh, Former Presidents of the Republic;|
|5.||Cabinet Ministers of the Republic, Chief Whip, Deputy Speaker of Jatiya Sangsad, Leader of the Opposition in Jatiya Sangsad;|
|6.||Persons holding status of a Minister without being members of the cabinet, Members of the cabinet, Mayor of Dhaka;|
|7.||Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the Commonwealth countries accredited to Bangladesh;|
|8.||Ministers of State of the Republic, Deputy Leader of the opposition in Jatiya Sangsad, Whip, Chief Election Commissioner, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Judges of the Supreme Court (Appellate Division);|
|9.||Persons accorded status of State Ministers, Election Commissioners, Judges of the Supreme Court (High Court Division);|
|10.||Deputy Ministers of the Republic;|
|11.||Persons accorded status of Deputy Ministers, Envoys accredited to Bangladesh;|
|12.||Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to the Government, Chief of Staff of Army, Navy and Air Force;|
|13.||Members of the Jatiya Sangsad;|
|14.||Visiting Ambassadors and High Commissioners not accredited to Bangladesh;|
|15.||Attorney General, Comptroller and Auditor General, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, Ombudsman;|
|16.||Secretaries to the Government, Officers of the rank of Major General in the Army and equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force, Inspector General of Police, Chairman of Public Service Commission, Chairman of University Grants Commission;|
|17.||Officers holding the status of secretaries to the government, Vice Chancellors of universities, National Professors, Director General of National Security Intelligence;|
|18.||Mayors of municipal corporations (within the jurisdiction of their respective corporation);|
|19.||Additional Secretaries to the Government, Charges d’ Affairs ad interim of foreign countries accredited to Bangladesh, Visiting Ambassadors and High Commissioners of Bangladesh, Professors of Universities in selection grade, Chairman of state corporations, Chairman of Tariff Commission, Director General of Anti-Corruption Commission;|
|20.||Officers of the status of Additional Secretaries to the Government, Managing Director of Bangladesh Biman, Vice Chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau, Members of National Board of Revenue, Members of the Public Service Commission, Registrar of Supreme Court;|
|21.||Joint Secretaries to the Government, Commissioners of Divisions (within their respective charges), Additional Inspector General of Police, Chairman of Rajdhani Improvement Trust (RAJUK), Officers of the rank of Brigadier in the Army, and equivalent in the Navy and Air Force, Surveyor General of Bangladesh;|
|22.||Officers of the status of Joint Secretaries of the Government of Bangladesh, Commissioners of Divisions (outside their respective charges), Deputy Inspector General of Police (within their respective charges), Inspector General of Prisons, Officers of the rank of Full Colonel in the Army, and equivalent in the Navy and Air Force;|
|23.||Additional Commissioners (within their respective charges), Mayors of municipal corporations (outside their respective charges);|
|24.||Chairman of District Councils (Zila Parishad), if elected (within their respective charges), Deputy Commissioners (within their respective charges), Deputy Inspector General of Police (outside their respective charges), District and Sessions Judges (within their respective charges), Officers of the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Army, and equivalent in the Navy and Air Force;|
|25.||Deputy Secretaries to the Government, Chairman, if elected, of class-1 municipalities (within their respective charges), Chairman of upazila parishad (within their respective charges), Civil Surgeon (within their respective charges), Superintendents of Police (within their respective charges), Officers of the rank of Major in the Army, and equivalent in the Navy and the Air Force.|
The government and elected functionaries in terms of rank, are entered in numbers in each article which indicate their relative positions. Usually there are more than one entry in one number except those of the top functionaries such as the President, the Prime Minister, the Speaker and the Chief Justice. The serial numbers in the warrant of precedence are officially known as articles. The relative ranking of important functionaries as listed in the warrant of precedence had undergone changes depending on the form of government. It also provides for comparative equivalence of officers of the armed forces inclusive of the army, navy, and air force.
The warrant of precedence also lays down that listing of the various functionaries in each article apply exclusively to the persons entered therein. However, the relative precedence thus determined does not give them any precedence over members of the non-official community who shall take their precedence according to usage. It is further stated in the warrant of precedence that: (i) officials listed in one article are not according to their seniority. Those included in one number will take precedence inter se according to the date of entry into that number, but officers of the defence services rank inter se in accordance with their seniority; (ii) when an officer holds more than one position in the list, he will be entitled to the highest position accorded to him; (iii) an officer on entering an article by virtue of his change of office to an article lower than that which was occupied by him immediately preceding the change, will take seniority in the lower article with effect from the date of entry into the higher article; (iv) all married ladies, unless by virtue of holding an appointment themselves, are entitled to a higher position in the table and shall take their place according to the precedence therein assigned to their respective husbands; (v) all other persons not mentioned in the above articles will take precedence according to the general usage, which is to be explained and determined by the President of the Republic, in case any question shall arise; and (vi) the warrant of precedence is meant only for state and ceremonial occasions, and has no application in the day to day business of the government. [AKM Farooq]