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Administrators to be appointed in Zila Parishads

Published : 15 Apr 2022 10:19 PM | Updated : 16 Apr 2022 03:47 PM

The government is going to appoint administrators in Zila Parishads of the country as the elections were not held on time. The administrators will be appointed as per the newly amended law passed in the Parliament.

The ‘Zila Parishad (Amendment) Act, 2022’ was passed in the Parliament on April 6 incorporating a provision for appointing an administrator on expiry of the five-year tenure of the district-level local government body.

The process of appointing administrators will start as soon as the gazette of the law is published after the consent of the President. 

Sources said that the chairmen of the existing Zia Parishads will be given priority in the appointment of administrators. However, after the appointment of the administrator, the existing council will be dissolved and its ordinary members and members of the reserved seats will lose their posts.

The Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Ministry will oversee the matter. Helal Uddin Ahmed, senior secretary to the Local Government Division of the Ministry said that appointment of administrators at the Zila Parishads would be made in accordance with the provisions of the law. The Prime Minister will decide on the issue after the law is gazetted. 

The ‘Zila Parishad Act, 2000’ had allowed the Zila Parishad to continue its responsibilities until the first meeting of the next elected Parishad, as well as the new Zila Parishad, is formed. 

However, the provision to the law has been added that the authorities concerned would appoint an administrator to manage the activities of Zila Parishad after the expiry of its term. 

As per the amended law, all upazila chairmen would also become ex-officio members of the Zila Parishad. Instead of the existing 15 general members, the district council according to the bill will have to have an equal number of members of upazila Parishad.

According to the ‘Zila Parishad (Amendment) Act, 2022’, the Zila Parishad chairmen and members will have to leave their posts upon the expiry of their tenure. 

The government would appoint a suitable person or a public official as an administrator to carry out the functions of the local body until the formation of the next Parishad. 

The administrator will be in office until the next Zia Parishad is formed. However, the tenure of the administrator will not be more than 180 days and no one can be an administrator more than once.

Like the appointment of an administrator in Zila Parishad, a similar provision was also incorporated in the ‘Local Government (Municipality) (Amendment) Act, 2022’, which was passed in Parliament on March 31. 

The government is planning to appoint administrators in Zila Parishad soon as it won’t be possible to hold the elections in the Zila Parishads in a short time.

Although the five-year term of 61 Zila Parsihads of the country expired during the tenure of the previous Election Commission (EC), the outgoing commission headed by KM Nurul Huda failed to hold the elections on time. No step is seen now over the elections under the current commission headed by Kazi Habibul Awal. 

According to EC sources, the commission will start the process of the Zila Parishad elections by finalizing the voter list after the election of the remaining 200 Union Parishads (UPs) is over.

According to the law, the elected representatives of all the local government bodies from city corporations to UPs are the voters of Zila Parishad. As a result, if the UP election is not completed, it will not be possible to prepare the final voter list.

Zila Parishad elections were held for the first time on December 28 in 2016 in 61 districts of the country. The elected representatives took oath on January 11 in 2017. The first meeting of the district councils was held in January of that year. As a result, the five-year term of the council ended last January. 

According to the Zila Parishad Act, elections are to be held 180 days before the expiration of the term of the council. 

About the matter, Ashok Kumar Debnath, additional secretary to the Election Commission, said that they have not received any letter from the ministry regarding the Zila Parishad elections. After receiving the letter, the EC will take the next step including finalizing the voter list.

Meanwhile, the ‘Zila Parishad (Amendment) Bill, 2022’ was passed in the Parliament amid opposition. Lawmakers of opposition parties termed the administrator appointments as contradictory to the constitution.

Jatiya Party MP Barrister Shameem Haider Patwary said that the constitution doesn’t allow such a law. Leaving the local government bodies even one day without an elected representative is unconstitutional. The constitution states that taxes cannot be levied without elected representatives. Then why will there be an administrator who is not elected? he asked.

However, LGRD Minister Md Tajul Islam had said that the government is working to strengthen local government bodies. The amended law will connect the district administration with the municipalities and union parishads and coordinate their work.

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