The Jatiya Sangsad Wednesday passed the "Zila Parishad (Amendment) Bill" incorporating a provision of appointing administrator on expiry of the five-year tenure of the district-level local government body.
Opposition lawmakers, however, opposed the bill terming the administrator appointments contradictory to the constitution.
Opposing the bill, Jatiya Party lawmaker Pir Fazlur Rahman said the provision of appointing administrators is against the spirit of the constitution. Another MP of the party Fakhrul Imam said if Article 11 of the constitution is taken into account, then the bill will get scrapped. Gonoforum MP Mukabbir Khan too said the bill contradicts the Constitution.
"Leaving the local government bodies even one day without an elected representative will not be appropriate," Jatiya Party lawmaker Shameem Haider Patwary said, adding, "The Bangladesh Constitution states that taxes cannot be levied without elected representatives. Then why will there be an administrator who is not elected?"
Demanding the bill to be withdrawn, BNP MP Md Harunur Rashid commented that the provision of administrator appointment will facilitate recruiting partymen.
Besides, Jatiya Party lawmaker Md Mujibul Haque Chunnu expressed surprise that the bill does not mention the jurisdiction of the district administration. He demanded to strengthen the district-level local government body.
In reply, Local Government, Rural Development & Co-operatives Minister Md Tajul Islam said the government is working to strengthen local government bodies. The law will connect the district administration with the municipalities and union parishads and coordinate their work.
Subsequently, the bill was passed by voice votes.
According to the bill, the government will appoint a suitable person or a public official to carry out the functions of a district administration after it expires. The administrator will be in office until the next administration is formed. The tenure of the administrator will be determined by the government.
However, the term of the administrator will not be more than 180 days and no one can be an administrator more than once.
Instead of the existing 15 general members, the district administration according to the bill will have to have an equal number of members of upazila parishad.