Amendments of the Constitution of Bangladesh (1st to 17th)

Amendments of the Constitution of Bangladesh (1st to 17th)

First Amendment
Passed on 17 July 1973, the first amended was made to the Article 47 of the constitution. The amendment inserted an additional clause, Article 47(3) that allowed punishment and prosecution of war criminals under international law. A new Article 47A was also added, which specified that certain fundamental rights will be inapplicable in those cases.

Second Amendment
Second amendment of the constitution was passed on 22 September 1973 that suspended some of the fundamental rights of the citizens during a state of emergency. The act made following changes to the constitution:
§     Amended articles 26, 63, 72 and 142.
§     Substituted Article 33.
§     Inserted a new Part IXA to the constitution.

Third Amendment
Third Amendment was passed on 28 November 1974 that brought changes in Article 2 of the constitution. An agreement was made between Bangladesh and India in respect of exchange of certain enclaves and fixation of boundary lines between the countries.

Fourth Amendment
The amendment was passed on 25 January 1975.
1.      Amended articles 11, 66, 67, 72, 74, 76, 80, 88, 95, 98, 109, 116, 117, 119, 122, 123, 141A, 147 and 148 of the constitution
2.     Substituted Articles 44, 70, 102, 115 and 124 of the constitution
3.     Amended part III of the constitution out of existence
4.     Altered the Third and Fourth Schedule
5.     Extended the term of the first Jatiya Sangsad
6.     Inserted a new part, VIA in the constitution and
7.     Inserted new articles 73A and 116A in the constitution.

Significant changes included:
o   The presidential form of government was introduced replacing the parliamentary system.
o   A one-party system in place of a multi-party system was introduced;
o   the powers of the Jatiya Sangsad were curtailed;
o   the Judiciary lost much of its independence;
o   the Supreme Court was deprived of its jurisdiction over the protection and enforcement of fundamental rights.

Fifth Amendment
Fifth Amendment Act This Amendment Act was passed by the Jatiya Sangsad on 6 April 1979. This Act amended the Fourth Schedule to the constitution by adding a new paragraph 18 thereto, which provided that all amendments, additions, modifications, substitutions and omissions made in the constitution during the period between 15 August 1975 and 9 April 1979 (both days inclusive) by any Proclamation or Proclamation Order of the Martial Law Authorities had been validly made and would not be called in question in or before any court or tribunal or authority on any ground whatsoever.

Sixth Amendment
Sixth Amendment Act The Sixth Amendment Act was enacted by the Jatiya Sangsad with a view to amending Articles 51 and 66 of the 1981 constitution.

Seventh Amendment
Seventh Amendment Act This Act was passed on 11 November 1986. It amended Article 96 of the constitution; it also amended the Fourth Schedule to the constitution by inserting a new paragraph 19 thereto, providing among others that all proclamations, proclamation orders, Chief Martial Law Administrator's Orders, Martial Law Regulations, Martial Law Orders, Martial Law Instructions, ordinances and other laws made during the period between 24 March 1982 and 11 November 1986 (both days inclusive) had been validly made, and would not be called in question in or before any court or tribunal or authority on any ground whatsoever.

Eighth Amendment
Eighth Amendment Act This Amendment Act was passed on 7 June 1988. It amended Articles 2, 3, 5, 30 and 100 of the constitution. This Amendment Act
§  declared Islam as the state religion;
§  decentralised the judiciary by setting up six permanent benches of the High Court Division outside Dhaka;
§  amended the word 'Bengali' into 'Bangla' and 'Dacca' into 'Dhaka' in Article 5 of the constitution;
§  amended Article 30 of the constitution by prohibiting acceptance of any title, honours, award or decoration from any foreign state by any citizen of Bangladesh without the prior approval of the President.
It may be noted here that the Supreme Court subsequently declared the amendment of Article 100 unconstitutional since it had altered the basic structure of the Constitution.

Ninth Amendment
Ninth Amendment Act The Constitution (Ninth Amendment) Act 1989 was passed in July 1989. This amendment provided for the direct election of the Vice President; it restricted a person in holding the office of the President for two consecutive terms of five years each; it also provided that a Vice-President might be appointed in case of a vacancy, but the appointment must be approved by the Jatiya Sangsad.

Tenth Amendment
Tenth Amendment Act The Tenth Amendment Act was enacted on 12 June 1990. It amended, among others, Article 65 of the constitution, providing for reservation of thirty seats for the next 10 years in the Jatiya Sangsad exclusively for women members, to be elected by the members of the Sangsad.

Eleventh Amendment
Eleventh Amendment Act This Act was passed on 6 August 1991. It amended the Fourth Schedule to the constitution by adding a new paragraph 21 thereto which legalised the appointment and oath of Shahabuddin Ahmed, Chief Justice of Bangladesh, as the Vice President of the Republic and the resignation tendered to him on 6 December 1990 by the then President Hussain M Ershad. This Act ratified, confirmed and validated all powers exercised, all laws and ordinances promulgated, all orders made and acts and things done, and actions and proceedings taken by the Vice President as acting President during the period between 6 December 1990 and the day (9 October 1991) of taking over the office of the President by the new President Abdur Rahman Biswas, duly elected under the amended provisions of the constitution. The Act also confirmed and made possible the return of Vice President Shahabuddin Ahmed to his previous position of the Chief Justice of Bangladesh.

Twelfth Amendment
Twelfth Amendment Act This Amendment Act, known as the most important landmark in the history of constitutional development in Bangladesh, was passed on 6 August 1991. It amended Articles 48, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 70, 72, 109, 119, 124, 141A and 142. Through this amendment the parliamentary form of government was re-introduced in Bangladesh; the President became the constitutional head of the state; the Prime Minister became the executive head; the cabinet headed by the Prime Minister became responsible to the Jatiya Sangsad; the post of the Vice President was abolished; the President was required to be elected by the members of the Jatiya Sangsad. Moreover, through Article 59 of the Constitution this Act ensured the participation of the people's representatives in local government bodies, thus stabilising the base of democracy in the country.

Thirteenth Amendment
Thirteenth Amendment Act The Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act 1996 was passed on 26 March 1996. It provided for a non-party Caretaker Government which, acting as an interim government, would give all possible aid and assistance to the Election Commission for holding the general election of members of the Jatiya Sangsad peacefully, fairly and impartially. The non-party caretaker government, comprising the Chief Adviser and not more than 10 other advisers, would be collectively responsible to the President and would stand dissolved on the date on which the Prime Minister entered upon his office after the constitution of the new Sangsad.

Fourteenth Amendment
Fourteenth Amendment Act The Constitution (Fourteenth Amendment) Act 2004 was passed on 16 May 2004 providing, among others, the following provisions : Increase in the number of reservation of seats for women in the Jatiya Sangsad from 30 to 45 on a provisional representation basis for the following ten years; increase in the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 65 to 67 years; and displaying of portraits of the President and the Prime Minister at the offices of the President and the Prime Minister, and the Prime Minister's portrait in all government, semi-government and autonomous offices and diplomatic missions abroad were made mandatory.

Fifteenth amendment
The Fifteenth Amendment was passed on 30 June 2011 made some significant changes to the constitution. The amendment scrapped the system of Caretaker Government of Bangladesh. It also made following changes to the constitution:
§  Increased number of women reserve seats to 50 from existing 45.
§  After the article 7 it inserted articles 7(a) and 7(b) in a bid to end take over of power through extra-constitutional means.
§  Restored secularism and freedom of religion.
§  Incorporated nationalism, socialism, democracy and secularism as the fundamental principles of the state policy.
§  Acknowledged Sheikh Mujibur Rahman as the Father of the Nation.

Sixteenth Amendment
16th amendment of the constitution was passed by the parliament on September 17, 2014 which gave power to the Jatiyo Shangshad to remove judges if allegations of incapability or misconduct against them are proved.On 5 May 2016, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh declared the 16th Amendment illegal and contradictory to the Constitution.

Seventeenth Amendment
According to the Article 65 (3) of the constitution, 50 seats would be reserved exclusively for women in the parliament for 10 years from the first meeting of parliament after the one that passed the 14th constitutional amendment in 2004.
As per the constitution, the parliament shall consist of 300 members to be elected directly and 50 reserved seats for women to be allotted to parties based on their proportional representation in the House.
The incumbent 10th parliament has 350 members -- 300 elected in general elections and 50 lawmakers from reserved seat for women. But the exiting 10-year tenure of the reserved seats is going to end on January 24, 2019.
According to the draft bill, the 25-year period of the reserved seats will be counted from the first day of the 11th parliament.
In 2004, the 8th parliament extended the tenure of the reserved seats by another 10 years through a constitutional amendment and it became effective in the 9th parliament, which sat on January 25, 2009. The 8th parliament increased the number of reserved seats from 30 to 45 while the 9th parliament enhanced it to 50. But the amendment did not extend the term of the quota

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