Rules of Procedure
Rules of Procedure refers to rules made by the Jatiya Sangsad to regulate the transaction of business in the Sangsad. This is done on the strength of Article 75(1)(a) of the Constitution.
Rules of Procedure (RP) was first framed on 22 July 1974. After the introduction of Presidential form of government through constitutional amendment, RP has undergone amendment for as many as eight times. On 5 November 1991, the parliamentary standing committee under the chairmanship of the Speaker, held as many as nine meetings and finalised further amendments. The report of the committee was approved by the Jatiya Sangsad on 5 February 1992 which was notified in the official gazette on the same day.
Thereafter, further amendments took place and was published in the gazette on 10 June 1997. The RP with latest amendment was officially published by the Parliament Secretariat on 30 September 2001. The latest publication of RP with amendments took place on 11 January 2007.
Rules of Procedure consists of 29 parts having 318 sections and four schedules. Major areas covered include:
Summoning of jatiya Sangsad, adjournment, dissolution, oaths of members, list of members and seating arrangements;
Election of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, filling up of vacant position and designation;
Powers and functions of Speaker and Deputy Speaker, expulsion and temporary expulsion of members, and delegation of authority by the Speaker;
President’s address to Sangsad and his message, and communication with the President;
Procedure for tabling questions to be raised in Jatiya Sangsad, manner of reply, supplementary question and restriction on raising questions;
Procedure for tabling adjournment motions on issues of public importance and call attention notice;
Procedure for tabling and introducing government bills, consideration and approval, amendment to Constitution, petition and private bills;
Presentation of annual or supplementary budget and debate, demands for grants, money bill and appropriation bill;
Procedure for moving resolution by Jatiya Sangsad;
Procedure for moving motion for impeachment of President;
Members’ privileges and rights;
Meetings in camera; and
Rules relating to standing and other committees.
It is perhaps necessary to provide some details of the above areas. Firstly, The issue of raising question on matters of public importance. Rules in this respect vest the right to a member to raise such questions. The ministers or any member to whom the question is addressed is required to respond to the same. However, this right is subject to a good number of restrictions. Major among these exclude the right in respect of (a) private organization which has nothing to do with the government financially or otherwise, (b) the question raised must not be couched in satirical or defamatory language, (c) the question should be devoid of any suggested solution of a coupled legal issue, (d) the question must not seek to obtain any information on a matter which is under consideration of a standing parliamentary committee, (e) the question should bear no reference or insinuation to the personal character of any person, (f) the question must not seek any information to which citizens have easy access, (g) the question should not seek any information relating to the discussion of any matter in the cabinet, or any advice tendered to the President the disclosure of which is forbidden in the provision of the Constitution or in any law, (h) no question can be raised rejoining any matter which is awaiting disposal by a court or quasi-judicial authority having jurisdiction in any area of Bangladesh, and (i) no matter can be raised which is subjudiced or pending before a tribunal or commission or under investigation; however, it is permissible only if such question does not have any influence on the process or steps in investigation.
In particular, other restrictions on raising questions include:
Insinuation to the conduct of President or judges of the supreme court;
Criticism against any decision of the Jatiya Sangsad;
Information on any matter which, in any law, is secret;
Insinuation to any decision of a established court or statutory tribunal, and any comment on any matter pending before such courts or tribunals;
Discourteous mention of any friendly country.
There are restrictions also in cases of adjournment motions. In respect of short discussions on any matter of public importance, the decision of Speaker is final. Some restrictions are also applicable to call attention notice on any matter of public importance.
Rules of Procedure thus provides a regulatory procedure for transaction of business in the Jatiya Sangsad which are to be followed by all involved in the working of the Sangsad. [AMM Shawkat Ali]
Bibliography Bangladesh Jatiyo Sangsad, Rules of Procedure, 2007 (Amended upto 11 January 2007).