Saturday, November 19, 2005

Revisiting Bangladesh Constitution

I've found this following article to be very interesting. We need to revisit our constitution to make it more accountable and democratic in its mandats. Repealing Article 70 of our constitution will be a milestone to open up free expressions by Parliamentarins. This article presents a major drawback in our constitution:

Repealing Article 70
Saleh Md. Shahriar
Chittagong University

"It seems to me that Article 70 of our constitution is undemocratic. After achieving independence in 1971, Bangladesh has taken a new constitution based on the fundamental principles of democracy. At that time, the Article was incorporated into the constitution in order to ensure party discipline. But today's socio-economic situation and political environment of the country are significantly different from those of the past. In addition, the Article is in clear contradiction with the democratic spirit of our constitution. Because it leads to the establishment of party dictatorship. I think it is irrelevant today.

However, Article 70 forbids an MP, who is elected as a nominee of a particular party, to vote against that party in the parliament or to abstain from voting defying party directives. Those who fail to comply with this Article risk losing their membership of the parliament. Thus the Article obviously limits the free role of MPs. Not only that, it is a major obstacle to discordant views within the party structures. So it impedes the healthy development of political parties' internal democracy".

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