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Caretaker Government and Fair Election: Is Caretaker Government is the Precondition for the Fair Election and Democracy in Bangladesh?
Course: Contemporary Development Issues in Bangladesh (DS-404)
Dr. Md. Reazul Haque Associate Professor Dept. of Development Studies University of Dhaka
A.M.Rezwanul Hoque Hon’s 7th semester, Class Roll – 14 Exam Roll – 5004 Session: 2008-2009 Dept. of Development studies University of Dhaka
Submission Date: 24th May, 2012
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Acknowledgement Abstract 4 5
List of Figures Chapter One: Taking Caretaker Government into Mind 1.1. Introduction 1.2. Justification of the Research 1.3. Objectives of the Research 1.4. Research Question (s) 1.5. Issues of Ethics 1.6. Field work and Research Method 1.7. Limitations 1.8. Outline of the Research Paper
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Chapter Two: Creating Foundation: Literature Review on caretaker government Chapter Three: Defining Caretaker Government and its Activities in the Context of Bangladesh 3.1. Definition of Caretaker Government 3.2. The Caretaker Government in Bangladesh 3.3. Background of The Caretaker Government in Bangladesh 3.4. Caretaker Government in Last Period (2006-2008) :A blessing or Curse Chapter Four: Obtaining the People’s View : The Concluding Remarks Chapter Five : Findings and Recommendations 5.1. Conclusion
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I am A.M.Rezwanul Hoque, student of Dhaka University at the Department of Development Studies, 4th year, 7th semester, and Class Roll-03, at first wish to express my thankfulness to my honorable course teacher Md. Reazul Haque, Associate Professor, Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka for his proper guidance and encouragement to prepare this paper.
Then I want thank Shamima Akter Jahan, Secratery Female Studenrs’ Affair of Bangladesh Student League, Dhaka University as she spent her valuable time in collecting female students view. Then my thanks goes Md. Shakhiul Islam Shovon, as he was always beside my side in collecting the data.
And lastly I want thank allah that I am able to finish the research.
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following a bloody war. two presidents have been killed in military coups. One of the reasons for the creation of Bangladesh was the aspiration of the people to establish a democratic society. Conversely. between 1975 and 1991. Since independence. in Bangladesh the holding of free. it may be said that Bangladesh became an independent country as a protest against military rule. fair and credible elections remains a big legal and political challenge despite the existence of all formal institutions including an apparent independent Election Commission. It was perceived that the non-party neutral caretaker government would have no motivation to manipulate the electoral process as the members of this government are barred from contesting the election. Those in power have always manipulated the rules and institutions concerned with the election process. Ironically. Like many developing countries. the innovative idea of holding the election under a non-party caretaker government was conceived as a solution.Abstract Bangladesh became independent from Pakistan in 1971. the country was either under direct or indirect military rule. Consequently. martial law has been imposed three times and thrice a state of emergency has been declared. 5|P ag e .
is it enough time to provide a fair election 25 24 Figure 6 : Is the selection of chief advisor of Caretaker Government is impartial? 26 Figure 7 : Is the number of advisor of Caretaker Government is enough to do the entire task 27 6|P ag e .List of Figures Figure 1: what importance does Caretaker Government have in order to have a fair election in Bangladesh 21 Figure 2 : Caretaker Government is how much impartial than political government in order to provide fair election 22 Figure 3 : For the stability of political situation what role Caretaker Government can play 23 Figure 4 : Does the caretaker government able make any impact on the political practice of Bangladesh Figure 5 : Caretaker Government comes in power for three month to give a fair election.
And to them this change is essential for the sovereignty of constitution as the caretaker government is not constitutional. From independence. Historically in Bangladesh the constitutional change has been happened for the preservation of the interest of government party and most of the case the power of constitutional change abused to strengthen the current power or to neutralize the power of opposition in order to win the next election. Recently 15th constitutional amendment was taken place which is about to abolish the Caretaker government. But it is clearly defined in Constitution that the country will run in a democratic way and to ensure constitutions sovereignty the constitution is created as rigid one which is hard to change. never the actual democracy is practiced here. 7|P ag e . Again the opposition parties are think that the constitutional change is a way to make cheat in the election by the government as political history is not so trustable in Bangladesh. On the issue of caretaker government the politics of Bangladesh is in a hanging situation.Chapter 1: Taking Caretaker Government into Mind 1. After this change. The amendment took two major political parties in two different poles. the government party is quite happy that they are able to strengthening the root of democracy as by removing caretaker government from constitution. it had been said that this country will run by the law of democracy.2 Justification The 15th amendment was passed in 30th in June 2011. which brings to an end of the probability of army to get in the power. that it is possible to have a fair election under elected government. which was against the caretaker government. The government party is against the caretaker system where the opposition said that they will not take part in the election if the care taker system is not retained. 1.1 Introduction In 2011 Bangladesh has observed its 40 years of independence but till now the people are not able to experience the real democracy.
1 Main Question How important it is to transfer power and responsibility to a non-democratic Caretaker government for a fair election.4. Actually in this paper I will try to answer those questions and will try to make a bridge between caretaker government and fair election. these incidences raise some question about the validity and the necessity of caretaker government.4 Research Question 1. In addition.2 Sub Questions What people think about the caretaker government? 8|P ag e .Past four elections were run under the neutral caretaker government and the people are able to see various incidences which were taken place under the caretaker regime from 2006 to 2008.4.3 Objective of the Research Paper The objective of this research is to find out what importance does the caretaker government have for a fair election in Bangladesh? Is there any possible scope and better solution on the issue of caretaker government? 1. in a democratic country like Bangladesh? And what is the necessity of caretaker government for the fair election in Bangladesh? 1. 1.
1. 9|P ag e . Hence. We ensured respondents of maintaining confidentiality by not disclosing their name and address at the time of report writing.6 Field Works and Research Methods 1. Respondents had freedom to withdraw from the interview at anytime. At the very beginning of my interview process. No personal questions and/or any questions deemed irrelevant for the research had not been asked. the research has been conducted by using Qualitative Research tool as by dint of qualitative research only the research can achieve its desired view of people in the issue of caretaker government for a fair election. 1. The set time for the meeting had been maintained rigorously. pseudonym had been used in this paper. had seek to what people think about caretaker government and how they experience and react differently to this issue. The transcripts had been provided to the respondent if s/he wished to have a look at it.1. we informed my respondents that this research is being conducted strictly for research purposes. no harm or benefits could be done to the respondents through the research and no monetary benefits would be provided during the field work. It had also taken into account that the personality of the researcher affects the research methodology and shapes the data collection and interpretation process.5 Issues of Ethics: The ethical standard for conducting such research had been strictly adhered to. Research Method This research being focused on citizens of Bangladesh.6. he/she had the right not to answer any questions if unwilling and participation had been voluntary.
The identified location.2. Sampling Issues Sampling is necessary in order to avoid bias and ensure representation of different stakeholders (Mayoux. 2004: 37). most importantly they are the future citizens of this country 10 | P a g e . and the secondary data have been a guideline for the research. which can be used to illustrate the different subgroups of the study area (INTRAC. reports prepared by different development organizations working in the relevant field. The reason behind taking only the ideas of university is because all of them are adult. whose are currently studying in various public and private universities. 1994: 26). Sources of Data Both primary and secondary data have been used in this research.4. A suggested starting point for developing a qualitative sample is to begin with a stratified purposeful sample. So I select the student part form all people for my study. While primary data have guided me to conclude a conclusion that to some extent represents the peoples’ view. 1. 2002: 2). In creating sample one option is to take a purposive sample.3. Newspaper reports and books. looking at a small number of locations in detail in order to gain an impression of the situation overall (Miles and Hubermann. The source of secondary data was various scholarly journals and articles. The whole nation is related my study but it is impossible to cover all peoples’ view. educated and conscious about the country and politics. As my research was self-funded. has been suitable for me. Research Locations The research location was the ‘Various Public and Private Universities of Dhaka area. therefore. 1. financial constraint has not allowed me to conduct my field work beyond Dhaka city.6. For the constrain of money and time I can only took the views of 40 students. Again it is impossible to cover the whole student part.6.6.1.
6. 2002 T. Taylor.C. CA (2002). It confined the answer in fixed area. I asked total seven questions to the fourty students of various universities By using open questioner I asked student about the question “what initiative can make caretaker government more effective and stronger and how? Here I used open questioner as The question may have various answers. Sage Publications. Qualitative Communication Research Methods (second ed). they suggested It is generally beneficial for interviewers to have an interview guide prepared.R. The respondents are free to express their own idea. p.5. Thousand Oaks.1. Basic Techniques: Interview through Semi-structured Questionnaire Lindlof and Taylor highlights the importance of this Semi.Structured interview method. The answer of the question is a critical one than others. 195 11 | P a g e . Lindlof and B. And rest of the questions are being asked according to the fixed questionnaire as It takes less time. 1 Lindlof and Taylor. which is an informal "grouping of topics and questions that the interviewer can ask in different ways for different participants"1 In the research I used both open and closed questionnaires.
1. 12 | P a g e . So their expressed view about the caretaker government. People of various occupations and sectors like politicians. The first chapter has enlighten (or established) why the I selected the research topic. the operational definition and the probable theoretical framework have also been pictured here. students. people and democracy. The second chapter has shown the works of the prior academicians and scholar on the topic of caretaker government and based on the prior works. The area is too big.6. Limitations My research topic is caretaker government that is related to the country. To me the university students are the representative of future generation and their ideology and way of thinking is much higher than other people.8. 1.6. This also has given the rationale.7. Processing of Data The data processing has been carried out following the field work and Interviews Qualitative data transcription was done manually.1. Afterwards. Outline of the Research Paper The research paper is divided into five chapters. jobholders. the required information for the report writing was translated into English. to some extent represents the entire people’s view about caretaker government. The methodology has been portrayed here with other necessary information of the study. lawyers have various ideas about the topic. However. the research time is too short to cover the entire sector that is why I select only the students of various universities of Dhaka city for my research respondents. Firstly the transcription of the interviews was conducted in Bengali. executives. The third chapter has analyzed the concept caretaker government and its situation in our country. objectives and the research question of the study.
The data analysis has captured the approximate true picture.The fourth chapter is based on the normal people’s views on the topic caretaker government. 13 | P a g e . The last chapter has given the concluding remarks of the study by providing the findings and the recommendation of the research. This chapter has pictured the position and situation of the stakeholders of the issue of caretaker government’s necessity for the fair election.
… He was not detached from his party in the least … [and had] totally failed in his job as a neutral administrator’: So those who is advocating caretaker for fair election and impartiality this is clear evidence to them. but how they use this power?One of the resigned advisers of caretaker government Chowdhury). A. At least by this recent amendment the root of democracy is being strengthened. General Hasan Mashud ‘From the very start it was clear that the president was a party [BNP] man. Masudul.htm 14 | P a g e . The issue of caretaker government for fair election comes in focus after the recent change of constitution. The matter was not that straight.net/2006/12/12/d6121201011. Daily Star 2006)3 2 3 Hoque. 2009. Emergency Power and Caretaker Government http://thedailystar. What is the harm in it or what conspiracy one can see in such support of military to the caretaker government? Actually this change was to influence the election and to make cheat in election process 2 (Hoque: 2009) Caretaker government can work independently.Chapter Two: Creating the Foundation – Literature Review on the Issue Caretaker Government Academicians are divided on the issue of caretaker government.K. though the military supported constitutionally mandated government. like any military of the world would do. is quoted at last regime.M. (Shakhawat Liton. Many of people said that the intervention of military was too much in the ruling process. One of the main reason to remove the caretaker government system is that someone the “Military was stepped in and suspended the elections”. Some of them think caretaker government is better for our democracy and election where some of them are against it because of the experience of last caretaker government’s activities.
249 and others were arrested without any warrant. Seikh Hafizur Rahamn. As caretaker government is against the 1972’s constitution.6 Till now it’s a debate. 2008. He rather influence in strengthening the election commission.ittefaq. He also said Awami league comes in power with more than sixty percent of total votes. Out of these. arrest warrants were issued only against 34.215.htm> at 27 November. Daily Prothom Alo. Associate Professor. (Upazilla election of Shailokupa) how it is possible for election commission to give a fair election under the political government. in Law Department in University of Dhaka stated the amendment as mixed hotchpotch as by this the ruling party actually violated of over eyed their past activities for the caretaker government. the amendment of abolishing the government taken places. 4 <http://www. Professor.The Hong Kong based Asian Legal Resources Centre estimates that between 11 January 2007 and 11 January 2008 ‘over 250. June 30 2008) 4 This statistics shows how the human justice violated at that time. at 16 July. at 16 July. (Daily Ittefaq. Law Department in University of Dhaka stated that it was election manifesto of present ruling party that if they elected they will go back to the 1972’s constitution. The number of people arrested just within a span of a month (between 28 May 2008 and 30 June 2008) is reported to be 50. But the impotent thing is with the abolishment of caretaker government they also suggested to make the election commission stronger. that which one is better for the country? Having caretaker government or not? Many of the scholars are supported the caretaker government where many of them are not. Asif Nazrul.000 have been arbitrarily arrested and many such detainees have been tortured during this time. 5 Again in answering the question of Asif Nazrul. 2011 5 6 15 | P a g e . 2011 Daily Prothom Alo.com/content/2008/06/30/news0463. Again there were many reported deaths in custody and often with marks of severe torture. so most people of the country are in support of abolishing the caretaker system. He also stated that under the political government we are able to various notorious activities of ruling party in local election.
In systems where coalition governments are frequent a caretaker government may be installed temporarily while negotiations to form a new coalition take place.1. but are not expected to produce a government platform or introduce controversial bills.1 Presumed Caretaker Government There are no basic rules or mandatory for this type of government.1 Definition of Caretaker Government The Caretaker Government is a special form of government system in which the country is ruled by a selected government for an interim period during transition from one government to another.Chapter Three: Defining the Caretaker Government & Its Activities in the Context of Bangladesh 3. This type of caretaker government is adopted in Bangladesh where an advisor council led by the former chief judge rules the country for three months before an elected government takes over. This type care taker government mainly comes 7 8 http://en. after the completion tenure of the former.7 Caretaker governments may also be put in place when a government in a parliamentary system is defeated in motion of no confidence or in the case when the house to which the government is responsible is dissolved. Caretaker governments are of three kinds3.wikipedia. As the outgoing government hands over their power. In special situation this government comes in to the caretaker role. to rule the country for an interim period until an election is held and a new government is formed. the caretaker government comes into place. This usually occurs either immediately after an election in which there is no clear victor or if one coalition government collapses and a new one must be negotiated.org/wiki/Caretaker_government Banglapedia: Caretaker Government 16 | P a g e .8 (Authors own translation) Caretaker governments are expected to handle daily issues and prepare budgets for discussion.
1. For that reason this type is of government cannot be said as real caretaker government.2 Caretaker Government in Special Sense To handle any disaster or any crucial situation like war. famine.in power with the expiry of legislative part of the present government or the failure of present government in the confidence votes in the parliament. 3. The prime minister need not to be resigned from his post. Sir Ivor Jennings later termed this government as Caretaker Government in Special Sense. the caretaker government comes into place. after the completion tenure of the former. 3. In 1945 prior the Second World War with the leadership Winston Churchill and other important persons of America shaped a interim government for the next upcoming election. impartial and neutral in nature.2 The Caretaker Government of Bangladesh The Caretaker Government of Bangladesh is a form of government system in which the country is ruled by a selected government for an interim period during transition from one government to another.3 Caretaker Government in True Sense Caretaker Government in True Sense means special kinds of government which is apolitical.1. the special kinds of interim government that comes in power is called caretaker government in special case. supporting and taking part in the election. France. this type of government is acknowledged in everywhere in the world. Members 17 | P a g e . However. This government is validating for the next election and its main task is to perform the duty of election. The key thing is every member of this government is personally prevented from voting. In Bangladesh this type government was introduced by the 13th amendment of constitution. As the outgoing government hands over their power. 3. and in many other countries the election is taken place in regime of the prior prime minister. In Britain.
appoint the Chief Adviser from among citizens of Bangladesh. after consultation. The administration is generally distributed between the advisers. The head of the Caretaker government is called the Chief Adviser and is selected by the President.2. before a scheduled general election. art 58C(4) Bangladesh Constitution. as far as practicable. It is not empowered to take any policy decisions unless it is necessary. art 58C(3) Bangladesh Constitution. The main objective of the caretaker government is to create an environment in which an election can be held in a free and fair manner without any political influence of the outgoing government. and the Chief Adviser selects the other advisers. art 58C(5) 18 | P a g e .1 The Issue of Caretaker Government in Constitution The amendment provided that after the resignation of the government. The Advisors function as Ministers. the president shall invite the immediate past chief justice of the country to become the chief adviser (CA).”11 Article 58C (1) says that. nor are they allowed to contest the elections. A Caretaker government is headed by a Chief Adviser who enjoys the same power as the regular prime minister of the country except defense matters.10 If these options are not available or not feasible. the Constitution suggests “the Chief Justices of Bangladesh retired next before the last retired Chief Justice. 3.’ The advisers are to be appointed 9 10 11 Bangladesh Constitution. the President “shall. the ‘Non-Party Care-taker Government shall consist of the Chief Adviser at its head and not more than ten other Advisers. or the retired Judges of the Appellate Division who retired last or the retired Judges of the Appellate Division retired next before the last such retired Judge” could be appointed as head of the Caretaker Government. 9 If this was not possible. with the major political parties.of the caretaker government do not belong to any political party. The Chief Adviser and the other advisers are committed for their activities to the President.
(Act1 of 1996). see M Rafiqul Islam. The tenure of the CA commences from the moment of taking the oath of office and ends when a new prime minister is sworn in after the general elections. made it mandatory to hold the general election within 90 days.2. art 58D(1) 13 16 17 Bangladesh Constitution. art 58C(7) 14 Ibid. 18 Under this arrangement.17 3. in clear terms.12 The advisers should not be member of any political party and should be qualified for election.by the president on the advice of the chief adviser. at the end of its tenure. art 58C(8) Bangladesh Constitution.14 3. Administration and Change 18.13 The CA would exercise the executive power of the republic during the tenure of the caretaker government. A caretaker government was first introduced in 1990 when three party alliances jointly made a demand for it. the three alliances 12 Bangladesh Constitution.3 Background of the Caretaker Government in Bangladesh The Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act 1996 was passed.15The first and foremost responsibility of this government is to hold a free. fair and credible election with the help of Election commission. After the forced resignation of General Ershad. rather than going into a caretaker mode should hand over power to a non-party caretaker government. 16 The amendment. ‘Free and Fair General Elections in Bangladesh under the Thirteenth Amendment: A Political-Legal Post-Mortem’ (July-December 1996) 26 Politics. 15 Bangladesh Constitution. s 6 18 For a critical analysis of various provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment.2 Functions of Non-Party Care-taker Government The Non-Party Caretaker Government shall carry on the routine functions of such government with the aid and assistance of persons in the services of the Republic and shall not make any policy decision. the government. art123(3) This clause was substituted for the former clause (3) by the Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act 1996. 19 | P a g e . art 58D(2) Bangladesh Constitution. requiring all future general elections in Bangladesh to be held in accordance with this amendment.
They also took initiatives for strengthening the law and order situation. Under this government. Bangladesh Nationalist Party joined the parliament as opposition with 116 seats. The 1st caretaker government consisted of 17 advisers. The election commission limited the expenses in election of the candidates and imposed them to submit their expenses sources. They appointed the renowned bureaucrat Md. The commission arranged various workshops for election officer through Election Training Institute so that they could do their duties properly. Abu Hena as CEC. The last retired chief Justice Md. district judge Mostaque Ahmed Chowdhury and retired secretary Abdur Rahman as EC. In this election. They appointed Justice Abdur Rouf as CEC. President dissolved the parliament on 14July 2001. The second Caretaker government was headed by the Justice Habibur Rahman. this government started working on reconstitution of election commission. 2001 and 2008. Since 1996. the eighth national parliament election has taken place. 20 | P a g e . This caretaker government started the registration system for the political party. Latifur Rahman was appointed as Chief Adviser according to the Constitution act 58(C). the president appointed ten advisers on the advice of chief adviser. 1996 has completed the tenure on 13July 2001. the Sixth Parliament dominated by Bangladesh Nationalist Party constitutionalised this system in 1996. The election was appreciated both nationally and internationally. A fine and acceptable voter list is the prior condition of a fair election. This government took the initiatives to renew the voter list. (1996) Bangladesh Awami League captured 147 parliamentary seats and they led with the coalition of Jamat-e-Islami. The government elected on 12thJune. Justice sayed Mesbah Uddin Hossain and Nayeem Uddin Ahmed as EC. The four-party coalition headed by BNP gained the two-third majority in the election. After taking the responsibility. On 16 July. They gave highest importance on the administrative impartiality. Although the first caretaker government was intended to help the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. the Caretaker government has held the elections of 1996.nominated Chief Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed as the Chief Advisor.
demanding immediate postponement of the elections. The Opposition also accused the President of pursuing policies of the BNP government. 2007. Justice KM Hasan. But.party Opposition alliance led by Awami League (AL) decided to boycott the elections. it was left to the Army to move in and occupy the political space. the opposition parties were complaining of foul play in the election process. Iajuddin Ahmed quickly stepped into the void and declared himself as the Chief Advisor overlooking all other options available in the Constitution. instead of acting neutrally. Even before the election dates were announced. As per Constitution. The institution further deteriorated on the issue of the removal of Chief Election Commissioner who was accused of favoring BNP. Hasan quietly withdrew himself and became incommunicado. This isolated BNP and undermined the legitimacy of the ninth parliamentary election. As per the Constitution. Large-scale violence erupted across the country. opposition parties objected to Hasan’s candidature primarily due to his proximity with Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP)—the government had increased the retirement age of Chief Justice from 65 to 67 by amending the Constitution in 2004 to allow Hasan to head the caretaker regime. The controversy centered on the appointment of Chief Advisor of the Caretaker Government. the last retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was to be the Chief Advisor of the caretaker government. forcing President Iajuddin to impose emergency on January 11 and resign from the post of Chief 21 | P a g e . though fixed for January 22. The Opposition was miffed when the election dates were announced and they intensified their protests. On January 7. the President can become the Chief Adviser of a Non-Partisan Caretaker Government in addition to carrying out his own functions only when he has tried all other alternatives available besides the situation has to be exceptional. Awami League went on a protest mode following the government’s refusal to rectify some of the partisan measures of the previous BNP government. was troubled from the beginning. The opposition parties suggested few other names but with BNP refusing to accept any of the names.The ninth parliamentary election. President. the 14. When the Khaleda Zia government completed its term in the midst of chaos and violence. The trouble began soon after Iajuddin-led Caretaker Government took charge.
2007. Dr. Hence.”2. 3. it can be called a caretaker 19 As first caretaker government was not constitutionalised 22 | P a g e . Although people were not overjoyed by the move. already. therefore. however. However. Thus. as the event is popularly referred to.3. people and political parties have to think about the abolishment of this government. renowned economist and former Bangladesh Bank Governor.19 This government enjoyed the mandate of the Bangladesh Army.1 Constitutional Validity of the Military-backed Government Dr.Advisor of the Caretaker government. 3. fair and credible election. 2008) was to hold free. was questionable. On January 12.3 Caretaker Government in last Period (2006-2008): A blessing or Cruse Because of various activities of the past caretaker government the idea of this government has been criticized. “a Caretaker Government should have been constituted within 15 days of the dissolution of the Jatiya Sangsad and should be in a position to hand over powers to a duly constituted popular government within 90 days after the dissolution of the previous parliament. observers of Bangladesh’s politics suggest that since the main objective of this government is to hold election. The Constitutional validity of the government. this government has completed the stipulated time limit that qualifies itself to be a caretaker government. As per Bangladesh’s Constitution.Fakruddin Ahmed. was appointed as the Chief Advisor of the military-backed caretaker government. Fakhruddin Ahmed’s government was the country’s third caretaker government since October 2006. Because of various activities of last caretaker government. The main objective of the government as declared by Fakhruddin Ahmed (on January 11. a new chapter was added to Bangladesh’s tumultuous history on 1/11. It is true that this government comes into power and able to stabilize the violent situation of politics but it has been said that the past regime of caretaker government was military-backed where there is a little scope of practice of democracy. it brought a sense of relief from the continuing violence.
and small digital cameras in an effort that would result in the most orderly voter's list in Bangladesh's history Another development that has gone down well with the people was the government decision to come down heavily on the extremist groups and leaders. This is one of the distinctive features of this government. The prosecution of some of the high and mighty in corruption cases has encouraged public support for the actions of the government. Bangla Bhai and five of his associates were executed in March end 2007. 3. The militant leader of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB). The reconstitution of a non-partisan Election Commission has added to the government’s credibility and image. Unlike previous such caretaker regimes. The Bangladesh Army including members of other military forces were deployed throughout the nation including the remotest areas. They were equipped with laptops. the present government’s administrative and development initiatives also show a determination to prevent the country from slipping another round of chaos and violence and to hold a credible and fair election. The government also took measures to streamline the power sector. The government has also worked on separating Election Commission Secretariat from the Prime Minister’s Office.2 Achievements of Government: The law and order situation certainly improved. improving the power generation and distribution much to the relief of the ordinary people. There were no major incidents of hartal (protests). There has been a major change in the election system as the caretaker government has introduced Voter ID cards (with photograph) for the first time.government. strikes and political violence.3. Establishment of Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) and similar actions against corruption have drawn public support. 23 | P a g e .
3.3. This move however failed after Khaleda refused to leave the country. 24 | P a g e . forcing the political parties to the sidelines. The government also came under criticism for pushing for reforms in the political parties.3. they argued. The government also attempted to neutralize the power of two major parties. The government supported the rebel group and encouraged it to split. did not give up its determination to neutralise the two parties and ordered the arrest of Hasina and Khaledad in June and September 2007 respectively on charges of corruption.1 Politics under the Caretaker Government: Politics in Bangladesh remained tightly under the leash of the military -backed caretaker government. Sheikh Hasina and BNP chief Khaleda Zia on exile. specially. dealing with political parties. however. Political parties and the caretaker government remained at loggerheads on various issues. This raised heckles in the political circles which questioned the government’s authority to call for such actions. daunting economic situation and the overwhelming influence of the armed forces. The government was accused of adopting a vindictive attitude towards them parties that. there were differences within BNP over the issue. the government faced some criticisms. by declaring a policy that it called the ‘Minus Two Formula’.The government. The government had banned all political activities. Though Hasina had left the country.3. 3. Though Awami League remained united against any such move.3 The Backside of Caretaker Government: Despite of such positive development. AL and BNP. which meant sending AL chief. she managed to force her way back . would be detrimental for the restoration of democracy in the country.
3 Economic Situation Under the Government : The economy fared badly. The government was heavily criticized for sending intelligence officials to the house of the professors who were arrested in August 2007. 2007.3.2 Role of Military in that Government: The government remained in the shadow of the Army though the caretaker government was at points to give the impression that it remained free of the Army. The military also involved itself in issues like sale of food items to the poor. The foreign and native investment were goes nearly zero as most of the investor are not sure about what will happen in future. it has been met widespread skepticism. and Chief Advisor Fakhruddin remained a puppet of the Army. organizing voters’ registration and coordination of relief after the devastation of cyclone in November. Inflation crossed more than 11%. Many ex-Service officials mostly ex-Army officials were given important positions in the government. Foreign aid was also decreased as one of main preconditions of most of the donor agency.3. The Army Chief had become the most visible face in the country’s newspaper and his photographs were regularly published. it was Army Chief Moeen Ahmed who was ultimately calling the shots. volume of agricultural product and exports were affected mostly. A declining trend was noticed almost in all sectors of the economy. Though the Army Chief had declared that he was not keen on grabbing power. the practice of democracy was 25 | P a g e .3. . Industrial investment. No fresh job opportunities were created and the prices skyrocketed. In fact.3. His comments on several non-military issues “What should the nature of democracy in the country? How should economy be working? How and when the emergency to be lifted?”. Army’s dominance in the government has raised concern about the prospect of democracy in the country.got equal or more importance than that of Chief Advisor’s.3. 3. People fear that the Army might just stay back in the saddle and delay the restoration of democracy.
The last regime of caretaker government was mostly discussed because of activities of that government. and irritants in the relations with Malaysia over the migrant labor issue.arrival of the US Marine to help Bangladesh to carry out relief and rescue operations after the Sidr Cyclone in November 2007. Moreover every work or investment was checked and analyzed by the intelligence agency. Bangladesh’s Foreign Affair Advisor.4 External relations in the Regime of the Government: The caretaker government enjoyed support and recognition from major powers.absent here. Throughout the chapter. In a summary it can be said that in the time between 2006-2008. 3. 26 | P a g e . we have captured the definition. Other significant events that influenced the country’s external relations like . In fact. primarily to seek help in setting up a nuclear power plant. The industry blamed the government for the down spiral. But later their support began to decrease and the governments of those countries were criticized for supporting the military backed government of Bangladesh. It received generous support and aids from the international community to deal with two floods and a cyclone in November 2007 that devastated the country. envoys of the United States and Great Britain played influential role in 1/11. which affected the common people the most. The government also came in for criticism for its failure to control the prices.3. Iftekhar Ahmed’s visit to Russia. they said it was caused by the prevailing sense of uncertainty and the government’s crackdown on corruption. which also hampered the investment. though there were little practice of democracy. under that caretaker government the country was ironically handled and many structural development was taken places. history and activities of caretaker government in Bangladesh.3.
fair 20 See Appendix 27 | P a g e .The Field Survey 4. Only 12. Therefore. majority of young generation think that caretaker government is must for a fair election in Bangladesh.Chapter Four: Obtaining the Peoples View. which is 87. They answered total eight questions and the basis of the answer of their questions there forms a conclusion.5%. we can see most of students are in favor of caretaker government. it is true that caretaker system is necessary for holding a free. First question. to them was “what importance does Caretaker Government have in order to have a fair election in Bangladesh?” Fig: what importance does Caretaker Government have in order to have a fair election in Bangladesh Have Importance Have No Importance Don’t Know Where.1 Introduction: In this chapter the views of general people were stated which was taken from them by a semi structured questioners20. To them.5% of them think that there is no necessity of caretaker system.
So most of the students are in favor of caretaker system. The next question to them was “Caretaker Government is how much impartial than political government in order to provide fair election?” Fig: Caretaker Government is how much impartial than political government in order to provide fair election. It is the trend of political parties of this country is to win the election by influencing the election process. But as the selection of chief judge was not free 28 | P a g e . The last retired chief judge was selected as the chief advisor of the caretaker government. But in Bangladesh most of the time the outgoing party tries to enforce the EC. Among them 42. Totally Impartial Politically Biased Don’t know There were total 40 respondents. The main task of caretaker government is to provide fair. To respondents’.5%. students said that caretaker government is impartial. neutral and impartial election. Their opinion is that the caretaker government can also be partial to a special political party. but 45% do not think in the same way. it is true that caretaker government is more impartial than political one in providing fair election.election but EC is mainly responsible for this job.
we can see that 50% students think caretaker government plays a important role for the stability of political situation. First caretaker government established for the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. In that situation there is no alternative of this type of 29 | P a g e . In this case. that’s why most of the respondents think that the caretaker government is not totally impartial. The third question was “For the stability of political situation what role Caretaker Government can play?” Fig : For the stability of political situation what role Caretaker Government can play Very Important Role Important Role Do not Play Any Role In third question. majority of them think that the role is important.from politicization. where 30% thinks think that caretaker government has played very important role in the politics of Bangladesh. Most of the students think that caretaker government plays a important role for the stability of political situation. Rest of them said caretaker government does not play any role about the stability of political situation.
5% think that the situation has been improved during caretaker tenure but not much. if caretaker government played any role the various notorious incidences after 1/11 would not taken places. Where 50% gives their opinion that caretaker government has a important role in the stability of politics. The rest 10% ones said this system created disturbance for normal political practice 30 | P a g e .government. for 1/11 incidence the caretaker government has been criticized. To them. but it is also true that only this caretaker government was able to neutralize the situation. 67. The Fourth question was “Does the caretaker government able make any impact on the political practice of Bangladesh?” Fig : Does the caretaker government able make any impact on the political practice of Bangladesh Improved the situation Pretty much Able to improve situation but not much Create disturbance in political practice Only 22. however.5% students said that caretaker government system is able to improve the situation pretty much.5% think that caretaker government does not play any role for the stability of political situation. Again 12. To them. That’s why 30% think caretaker government has a big role to play.
Here they took the example of last caretaker government. Past four elections was taken place under the caretaker government which was mostly accepted by all which shows success of the government in improving political situation.If the election was not taken place under the caretaker government. because to them more time in government will make them greedy for power and that may have a harmful effect on the politics. there is no alternative than caretaker government. To them. .whereas 30%students said time should be increased. is it enough time to provide a fair election?” Fig : Caretaker Government comes in power for three month to give a fair election. what else will be happen to the political situation is not their concern.75 % respondents said three month is enough to give a fair election. the hostility among will increased and that will create massacre in political practice. because of the lack of political belief among political parties. because three month is a short period to give a 31 | P a g e . The Fifth question was” Caretaker Government comes in power for three month to give a fair election. is it enough time to provide a fair election Time is enough Time should be increased Time should be decreased 53. But most of peoples view that the caretaker government only comes in power to make the election happen.
Here the logic is for a fair election there are so many work to be done like – renew the voter list. in practice. selection of officers. we see chief justices are not neutral politically and in 2006. The majority. 16.25% said time should be decreased. so here is no chance of political influence.50% students said it is partial. For this reason majority thinks the selection is partial. The sixth question to them was “Is the selection of chief advisor of Caretaker Government is impartial?” Fig : Is the selection of chief advisor of Caretaker Government is impartial Yes No don’t know 16. But important thing is that though most of respondents thinks that the selection of the advisor of caretaker government are on impartial but they 32 | P a g e . may be the bitter experience of last caretaker government is the reason for this.25% students of 80 said the selection is impartial. we have seen that by increasing the retiring age of chief justice it is possible to select a political chief adviser. 72. Who believes it is impartial as the act of the selection has been described by constitution. However. and arrange various training for the election officers.fair election.
The seventh question to them was “Is the number of advisor of Caretaker Government is enough to do the entire task?” Fig : Is the number of advisor of Caretaker Government is enough to do the entire task Enough Should be increased 65% students said number of adviser is enough to do the entire task. Therefore.are in favor of caretaker government as to them in most of the cases the advisors have the sense of impartiality which is absent in political government. where the initiatives to strengthening the caretaker government had been asked. The rest 35% think it is not enough. Though it stated in constitution that the tenure of caretaker government is 33 | P a g e . In answering that question most of the respondents said that the power and tenure of caretaker government need to specified more clearly. which is not so easy. May be the reason is caretaker government has to do the normal job of so many ministry and also to help the EC to hold a free and fair election. a portion of the respondents think that the number of adviser should be increased And the last question was an open question to them.
what criteria will make them impartial should be defined clearly. 34 | P a g e . so the selection process of chief judge need be free from politicization. All this initiatives may able to make the caretaker government stronger.90days but the rules was broken in last regime of caretaker government. Again many of them asked the question about the measurement of impartiality. And as the chief judge take the responsibility of chief advisor of caretaker government. in 58(c) act of constitution it has been stated that the advisor of caretaker government should be impartial.
The both establishment and abolishment is happened through the constitutional way. But most of the bureaucrats are politically biased.1 Findings & Recommendation Again I am saying that by the 15th amendment of constitution the caretaker government was abolished which was constitutionalised by 13th amendment of constitution. So like judiciary this secretariat needs to separate from legislative part. So before abolishing the caretaker government the policy makers need to look at this issue. In constitution’s 7th part it is clearly defined that all electoral responsibilities goes to the election commission not the caretaker government. 21 Bangle 35 | P a g e . for example in district it is the responsibility for deputy commissioner to supervise the whole election process. So if they do any wrong in the election the election commission has no power to punish him/her immediately. 58(d) the election commission is made autonomous though hardly the commission is able exercise its autonomy power because of fallacy of the constitunal rules. Again counting votes. So my first recommendation will be related on election commission.Chapter Five: Conclusion & Recommendation 5. whose are bound to answer to their authority if any bad incidence happened. 58(c0. From literature it has been seen that-21 Election commission has the responsibility perform all the activities of election. for that it is impossible for them to work independently without the influence of prime minister. The election secretariat was connected to the prime minister office. Again by constitutional act 58(b). then which one is better? The caretaker government is appointed for a fair election though the country has an election commission. forecasting result in every election area is done by the bureaucrats of that area. But the caretaker government use armies to make the election situation peaceful.
90 % of them said that accounting the present situation in mind caretaker government have a role to play but in future the system need to be abolished as it is not goes to the motto of 1972’s constitution. actually in how many days caretaker government will have done all its activities is not clear enough. so that they need to be in power for few more days.The structural situation of election commission is not strong enough to perform a huge duty like election. 22 See Appendix 36 | P a g e . It is stated in constitution that in 90 days the government will have create the preferable environment for election but there is a eye wash in the rules as in last caretaker government regime the government said that there is no favorable political situation for election. as chief judge appointed as the chief advisor of caretaker government so the process of selecting chief judge should be apolitical. Secondly. Firstly. 5. But there also need some rules of caretaker government which is needed to be changed. There were some debates about the impartiality of result of the election but most of the people and other international agencies were accepted the result. It has been asked to the amicus curie22 of supreme court that what was their opinion about caretaker government in order to fair election. Past four elections was happened under the caretaker government. So in a word before abolishing caretaker government the election commission need to stronger both in structure and power to perform such a burden like election.2 Conclusion: Historically it is true that the political history in Bangladesh is not so trustable that it is possible to have a fair election under elected government. Till that we need caretaker government.
So to me at present the country has necessity of caretaker government for a fair election and the possible solution on the issue of caretaker government will be“because of the past experience of caretaker government and as it is against the actual theme of constitution. after that the system will abolish. the caretaker government should be banned but concerning the country and its current situation. ” 37 | P a g e . for fair election this government should validate for next two elections.
Totally impartial 2. Very important role 2. Have no importance 3. Don’t know For the stability of political situation what role Caretaker Government can play? 1. Don’t know Caretaker Government is how much impartial than political government in order to provide fair election? 1. Important role 3. Politically biased 3. Do not play any role 38 | P a g e . Have importance 2.Appendix: Semi structured questionnaires: What initiative can made caretaker government more effective and stronger and how? Structured questionnaires : What importance does Caretaker Government have in order to have a fair election in Bangladesh? 1.
Should be increased 39 | P a g e . Time is enough 2. No 3. Time should be increased 3. Does the caretaker government able make any impact on the political practice of Bangladesh? 1. Yes 2. Create disturbance in political practice Caretaker Government comes in power for three month to give a fair election. Enough 2. is it enough time to provide a fair election? 1. Able to improve situation but not much 3. Improved the situation pretty much 2. Don’t know Is the selection of chief advisor of Caretaker Government is impartial? 1. Don’t know Is the number of advisor of Caretaker Government is enough to do all the task ? 1.
wikipedia. Emergence of Caretaker Government 3. The Constitution of Bangladesh 4. Banglapedia : Caretaker Government 40 | P a g e .References: 1. http://en.M. The History of Caretaker Government in the Military Era 2.K. 2009. Badaruddin (2010). A. Nazrul. The Daily Prothom Alo Archive 6. Emergency Power and Caretaker Government 5. Hoque. The Daily Star Arcive 7.org/wiki/Caretaker_government 9. Umar. Masudul. The Daily ittefaq Archive 8. Asif 2008.
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