Zila Parishad (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was placed in parliament on Tuesday empowering the government to suspend chairmen and members of a district council if any court accepts charge sheet against them.
The bill also included provision to allow incumbent chairman of district council take part in the council election if he or she resigns. It also paved the way for inclusion of vice chairman of upazila in the ‘electoral college’ with elected representatives from all tiers of the local government system to elect district council’
LGRD and cooperatives minister Khandker Mosharraf Hossain placed the bill in the house with speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair. The bill was then sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the ministry and the panel was asked to submit its report within one working day.
The amendment also said that Election Commission will conduct the election and frame rule which was earlier conducted by government.
Mayors and councillors of city corporations/municipalities, Upazila chairmen and vice-chairmen and Union Parishad chairmen and members would constitute an electoral college for electing a 21-member local government body at the district level, said the draft bill.
There is a three-tier local government system — Union Parishad, Upazila Parishad and Zila Parishad—besides the municipalities and the city corporations, in the country.
The bill said that government would have the authority to temporarily suspend chairman or members of the Zila Parishad, any court framed charges against them on criminal offence.
Any candidate responsible for violating electoral code would be punished with six-month jail and a fine of Tk 50,000, said the amended bill of the existing Zila Parishad Act of 2000.
In its previous term, the Awami League-led government on December 15, 2011 appointed administrators to 61 Zila Parishads – almost all of them AL leaders – with a view to ‘strengthening’ the district councils, although the constitution stipulated that the local government bodies must be run by elected representatives.
The administrators are supposed to function until elected representatives take over the district councils.
Khandker Mosharraf Hossain in the last week of August said that the government was taking all necessary measures for holding elections to Zila Parishads, now being run by administrators, by December.
Meanwhile, land minister Shamsur Rahman Sherif, placed Chittagong Hill Tracts Land Dispute Resolution Commission (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which would curtail power of the commission’s chairman in the decision making.
The decision of the commission chairman in case of any disagreement over an issue is considered as the decision of the commission in the present law but the amendment proposed any decision will now be taken on the basis of the opinions of majority members including chairman.
The amendment bill was taken to make the CHT land commission effective. The bill was then sent to the parliamentary standing committee and the panel was asked to submit its report within one working day.
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