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Review the Judgment on Caretaker Government of Bangladesh



Military backed Caretaker Government

2008 Election



Chef Advisers since

Abolishment of GTE

Caretaker system declared illegal

Caretaker government may hold next 2 JS polls for 'safety'
 Keep judges out of caretaker government

BNP takes time; allies   worried: Staff Corresponden

                          Review the verdict on
                Caretaker government’’

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 of government to another, after the completion of tenure of the former. As the outgoing government hands over their power, the caretaker government comes into place. Members of the caretaker government do not belong to any political party, nor or they allowed to contest the elections. 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. It is not empowered to take any policy decisions unless it is necessary. The head of the caretaker government is called the chief adviser (in place of prime minister) and is selected by the president, and the chief adviser selects the other adviser. The administration is generally distributed between the advisers. The chief advisers and the other adviser are committed for their activities to the president.


A caretaker government was first introduced in 1990 when three party alliances jointly made a demand for it. After the forced resignation of general erased, the three alliances nominated chief justice shahbuddin ahmed as the chief adviser  a caretaker government is head by a chief advisers who enjoys the same power as regular prime minister of the country except defense matters. The Advisors function as Ministers. Since 1996, the caretaker government has held the election of 1996, 2001 and 2008. Although the first caretaker government was intended to help the transition from authoritariannism to democracy, this system was constitutional zed in 1996 by the Sixth Parliament dominated by Bangladesh Nationalist party yielding to boycotting opposition pressure.

In Bangladesh, there was a Caretaker Government (CTG) for the period of 1990-91 with understanding of political parties. Later, there were also CTG formed within constitutional framework in 1996, 2001 and 2006 followed by 

13th amendment to the constitution passed in the parliament. Besides, an extra-constitutional military-backed CTG was installed in 2007 which governed Bangladesh without legitimacy that ultimately handed over to elected political party following 20 December 2008 parliamentary election when they were failed to continue as pressured by international world.
According to the provision (before abolishment) of CTG in Bangladesh Constitution, there were 6 options to appoint Chief Advisor (CA). Last option of CA is the President. CTG had to hold election within 90 days and in 120 days power could be handed over to elected political party. Day to day affair or routine duty and holding parliamentary election are mandated responsibility of CTG.

Caretaker government is very popular in Bangladesh although it is a contradiction with constitution. Recently Pakistan and Greece have accepted this model to hold elections and overcome political stalemate.

Military backed caretaker government and its role

The military backed caretaker government (CTG) was formed unconstitutionally, CA was appointed violating constitution, performed all responsibilities of regular elected government and lasted for 2 years. Army chief used to attend the advisory council meetings and pressured cabinet to take decision he wanted. Advisor to the president Mukhlesur Rahman chowdhury was ousted as he was against army move. Later president Iajuddin ahmed had to run presidency at the gun point. Lt. gen. Moeen upgraded army chief rank to general and to maintain balance also other two forces chief accordingly. Mocen also made his one year extension without lawful authority in absence of regular elected government. Senior Advisor and Minister of state Mukhles Chowdhury tried utmost, solved political problem and thereby brought rival political parities to the planned parliamentary elections of 22 January 2002. However, by cancelling H M Ershad’s nomination Moeens staged a military coup on 11 january 2007.
2006 to January 2007 and he was running the state with integrity, sincerity and honesty which was proved later by government and military inquries and investigations. He was under attack by civil military. Political media and inner circle of  president’s office and president’s family. The PMs political secretary was dead against his introduction in the government public. Where as it was written by section of news paper that he was in favor of him. During his regime a lecturer a Sohrawardy college went to
 Bangbhaban which was  rumored in media replacing the name with then PMs Assignment officer. There was similarity with names but not the same name.

On 11 January 2007 which Mukhles Chowdhury became powerless then Brigadier Fazlul bari decided some days curfu and press censorship for a day in presence and with consent of then major gen. masududdin Chowdhury at adviser office, which was also propagated as Choedhurys decision. This way a section of press worked against democracy and for autocracy openly. According to Moeen’s book, Mukhles Chowdhury was the most powerful man in the Presidency. He was offered to be the  President and later to be the Chief adviser and finally thought Brigadier Bari who went to his office requesting to run the country for tow years and arrange trial of alleged corrupt politicians, bureaucrats, businessman, media men etc. However Chowdhury disagreed with such formula saying democracy must continue with following system to check corruption, not by halting the system.    Mukhles Chowdhury stopped the process of MPO of his father’s Technical Institute, approval of sanctioning a government building to that institution and ensured his cousin’s arrest for a car accident while was in power, which was found in inquiries later. As army group did not do anything to Chowdhury legally they arranged attack by DGFI, PGR and Army in Dhaka on 26 February 2007 and 7 September 2007 in Dhaka. After one year and three and half months of military take over of 11 January 2007, Chowdhury left Bangladesh and number of times he was under attack in New York and in London including 15 September in London, UK by Brigadier Amin. Military backed extra-constitutional government of 2007-2008 handed over power to Awami League after election. Earlicr Shiek Hasina openly said that the military government is product of their street movement. Awmami league promised to legalise all activities of that illegal government. Thus 2008-till date AL government is an extension of the post military backed administration, as arch-rival BNP claimed.

2008 Election
The national election of Bangladesh was held on 29 December 2008 under the caretaker government formed with Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed as the chief Adviser on 13 January 2007. This was the third caretaker government formed after the tenure of the government of Prime Minister khaleda Zia ended in October 2006. The caretaker government of Dr.Fakhruddin

Ahmed functioned without legislative authority as it continued to function after its scheduled tenure of 120 days ended on 12 May 2007. All decisions taken after this date must be ratified by the parliament for the sake of legitimacy.

The caretaker government of Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed was a malitiary controlled and has made extensive use of the military to stymie the chaose that preceded the 11 th of January, 2007 populary known as 1/11, like 9/11.Form the very outset however, the government made it clear that they were there not only arrange a free and fair election, but also to make sure that all aspects that are connected to it are reviewed properly. This meant major reforms in the election system, but also making sure that corrupt candidates could not take part in the election.

The task was however an enormous one, since Bangladesh is regarded as one of the most corrupt nations in the world. Therefore, the government had exceeded its mandated term, which according to the constitution allows it to stay only for 90 days.


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. The Bangladesh Army including members of other military forces were deployed throughout the nation including the remotest areas. They were equipped with laptops, and small digital cameras in an effort that would result in the most orderly voter’s list in Bangladesh’s history.


Initial reactions of the public were welcoming. That arrest of corrupt prominent politicians led many to believe that a new political age was imminent. However, on new major parties came into the scene, and now the work of the anti-corruption unit is coming undone as many of the politicians are being released from prison. This has also ended prospects for reform within the major parties since the old leaders have returned to their former positions, and positively gotten rid of reformers.

People who had opposed the government’s prolonged stay have mostly been members of the two major parties.  Members of  the public in general understood the reasons and necessity for the government’ actions.

The television media has reported events throughout the term in a mostly robotic manner. There has been little questioning of the leaders who have been incriminated with an array of corruption charges, and who are now on the verge of returning to power. Almost all of the nation’s television channels are owned by members from one of the two major parties.

Chief Advisers since 1991

•   Justice Shahabuddin Ahmed - Election of 1991
  Justice Muhammad Habibur Rahman - Election of 1996
   Justice Latifur Rahman - Election of 2001
   Dr.Iajuddin Ahmed – Resigned on 11/January/2007
   Dr. Fakhruddin Ahmed – Appointed 11/January/2007 – Election of 2008

See also
•   Caretaker Government
•   Chief Justice of Bangladesh

Abolishment of CTG

In 20011 Bangladesh Awami League (BNP) abolished Caretaker Government (CTG) uilaterallythrought 15th amendment of the constitution for which they staged street movement during 1994-96 periods. Ironically, BAI came to power twice in 1996 and 2008 through this CTG. Oppsition including BNP have been demonstrating against this amendment since then. People are worried about next elections as CTG was abolished. Sheikh Hasina assured that parliament will be dissolved follwing a verdict of court.

Caretaker system declared illegal
"There is no alternative to a non-party and neutral government for people's franchise. Under any circumstances, the democracy-loving people of the country will not accept an 'arranged election' under a partisan government," she said while speaking at a press conference at her Gulshan office in the city.
Drawing  people’s attention to the full text judgment on the caretaker system of government, the opposition leader said, "The judges take their oath with a pledge (commitment) to deliver neutral justice but they do not remain under oath after retirement. For this reason, any retired judge cannot sit in the court, cannot hear any case and for the similar reason, the retired judge cannot write any judgment in any case or put signature in it. But Justice Khairul Haque did it. For obviously reason, I think, the judgment in this regard was one-sided, unacceptable and subject to cancellation".
BNP chief said, "Former Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque delivered a brief judgment cancelling the 13th amendment to the constitution on May 17 last year, a week before his retirement. It was a split judgment. It was unprecedented and judicial ill- practice as there was a specific difference between the brief- split judgment and the full-text judgment published a few days back 16 months after his retirement."
She said the unethical and politically motivated judgment is ineffective on logical grounds. The BNP chairperson said an unwarranted situation would be created and the political crisis would be deepened in the country owing to the judgment.
Khaleda Zia said, "BNP believes that the people of the country will not accept in any way the politically motivated, unjustified and contradictory judgment delivered by former chief justice and it (BNP) will not participate in any election held on the basis of the judgment."
The opposition leader alleged that the government has made all the institutions ineffective through politicisation as people have no trust in any institution.

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, standing committee members Dr RA Gani, ASM Hannan Shah, MK Anwar, Barrister Rafiqul Islam Miah and Gayeshwar Roy, vice-chairman Justice TH Khan, and chairperson's press secretary Maruf Kamal Khan Sohel were present, among others.A restoration by parliament of the nullified constitutional provision relating to the caretaker government system will be legal since the Supreme Court has said the system can be kept in place for two more terms.The Supreme Court's full verdict on the constitution's 13th amendment case may offer a guideline explaining the way in which the caretaker government system can be used for a specified period, says a source close to former chief justice ABM Khairul Haque. Justice Khairul Haque, it may be noted, is now in the process of writing the full judgment. Parliament, if it wishes, may reintroduce the now defunct model of the caretaker government system or introduce a new model of it by amending the constitution. The act will be aimed at holding two more parliamentary elections under the caretaker government system, as the ex-chief justice may explain in the full verdict. The source said Justice Khairul Haque, who led the Appellate Division into declaring the provision for a caretaker government system unconstitutional and void on May 10 last year, may explain in detail the three "age-old principles" cited in the short order with regard to holding two more national polls under the lapsed caretaker government system. The three principles are the following: necessity makes it lawful, safety of the people, and security of the state are the
supreme law.
* Caretaker government may hold next 2 JS polls for 'safety'
* Keep judges out of caretaker government
The Supreme Court has declared illegal a 15-year-old constitutional provision that mandates an elected government to transfer power to an unelected non-partisan caretaker administration to oversee a new parliamentary election on completion of its term. In the same verdict yesterday the highest court said the voided system may be practiced for another two parliamentary terms for the sake of "safety of the state and its people”. The court also asked the parliament to amend the constitution to make sure that former chief justices or any other Supreme Court judges are not chosen as heads of caretaker governments in case the system is kept for another two parliamentary elections. A seven-member SC panel, headed by Chief Justice ABM Khairul Haque, reached the verdict on majority vote. It thus also rejected a 2004 High Court ruling that upheld the 13th amendment to the constitution which provides for a 10-member non-partisan caretaker government to take over following the dissolution of a parliament and resignation of an elected government on completion of its term. A caretaker government runs the routine administration and assists the Election Commission in conducting the polls. The High Court ruled the system legal after a Supreme Court lawyer M Salimullah challenged the 13th amendment in January 2000 in a writ petition saying the change distorts the principle that the republic will be governed by an elected government. The caretaker system was also hailed as appropriate for Bangladesh which has a history of bitter political hostilities and mistrust.
After Salimullah's death, another Supreme Court lawyer Abdul Mannan Khan filed an appeal in June 2005 against the High Court ruling in the Supreme Court.In its brief verdict yesterday the Supreme Court said, "The Constitution (Thirteenth Amendment) Act, 1996 (Act 1 of 1996) is prospectively declared void and ultra virus the Constitution.” The election to the Tenth and the Eleventh Parliament may be held under the provisions of the above mentioned Thirteenth Amendment," it said.” The parliament, however, in the meantime, is at liberty to bring necessary amendments excluding, the provisions of making the former Chief Justices of Bangladesh or the Judges of the Appellate Division as the head of the Non-Party Care-taker Government," the verdict added. Introduced in 1996 through the 13th amendment to the constitution by a controversially elected parliament, the system of non-party caretaker government has seen the holding of three successful parliamentary elections in 1996, 2001, and 2008 that were considered free and fair by both local and foreign observers. The immediate past chief justice is the first choice to become the head of a caretaker government with the formal title of chief adviser. Two former chief justices, Justice Habibur Rahman and Justice Latifur Rahman served as chief advisers respectively in 1996 and 2001.Fakhruddin Ahmed, a former governor of Bangladesh Bank, held the office to oversee the 2008 parliamentary voting after street protests, led by Awami League and its allies, forced then-president Iajuddin Ahmed to quit the post of the chief adviser.Awami League, led by then opposition leader Sheikh Hasina, pioneered the movement for introducing the non-partisan caretaker system. Her bitter rival Khaleda Zia, then the prime minister, vehemently opposed it.This time the Supreme Court verdict has been welcomed by Awami League, the current ruling party. Opposition BNP said it will wait to give its reaction. The verdict triggered mixed response among lawyers with some calling it contradictory and Attorney General Mahbubey Alam hailing it.Mahbubey Alam said the verdict is "right in principl.caretaker governments if the constitutional provisions are
Instrumental behind the introduction of caretaker government in 1996, the Awami League now welcomes the Supreme Court verdict that declares the system illegal. Then in power, the BNP was dead against the concept. Now in opposition, the same party appears concerned Ruling AL, allies happy
Hasan Jahid Tusher
Ruling Awami League-led grand alliance has welcomed the Supreme Court verdict that declared illegal the constitutional provision for the caretaker government.” We definitely welcome the apex court decision," AL presidium member Obaidul Quader told The Daily Star in an immediate reaction yesterday. The caretaker government system was introduced to meet a special need and it cannot be a permanent solution, Quader said. Both the AL and BNP should reach a consensus through discussion
On how or under whom the general elections should be held in future, he added. Ironically, the caretaker government system was introduced in 1996 in the wake of vigorous movement led by Awami League. Quader observed that it is difficult to reach an understanding on the issue if the political leaders cannot come out from their "obsession to the past”. A civil society member, a former bureaucrat, an eminent educationist, a former minister or a former lawmaker might head the caretaker government in future in line with the apex court verdict, he suggested. The AL would not hold one-sided elections, Since 1991, those who lost in the general elections held under an interim or caretaker government raised questions on credibility of the polls and were not ready to accept the results, he added. Quader urged the main opposition BNP to sit with the parliamentary constitutional amendment committee and place their opinions in order to reach a consensus in this regard.” I personally respect the judgment of the Supreme Court," said HM Ershad, chairman of Jatiya Party (JP), the key partner of ruling AL-led grand alliance, in his immediate reaction to The Daily Star. He said the judgment is the reflection of his party's suggestion to the special parliamentary committee to amend the constitution.” I told the committee that the judiciary turns controversial if the chief justice is made the chief adviser to the caretaker government and the Supreme Court today [yesterday] observed the same," added the former president. He said all the major political parties would nominate a person to be the chief adviser in future. He however questioned the consequences if the two major parties -- AL and BNP -- do not reach a consensus. "History says the two parties don't reach an agreement.” The Workers' Party of Bangladesh welcomed the SC judgment and said it is an important verdict considering the prevailing situation. This judgment has made it easy to find out an alternative to the judiciary involved in the caretaker government system, said Rashed Khan Menon, president of the party, in his immediate reaction.He said all the political parties would now have to find an alternative through discussion and consensus under whom or which system the elections should be held.Menon added the BNP-led opposition must reach a
Consensus with the government for the sake of keeping democracy continuing; otherwise it would seem they "have an evil intention". BNP has decided to come up today with its formal reaction to the Supreme Law Minister Shafique Ahmed said the caretaker government will not be needed if the Election Commission is independent and strong. If the EC is independent, it can hold elections fairly and neutrally, he said in his reaction to reporters at his secretariat office. Shafique said the EC held upazila and municipality elections in a free and fair manner. Democracy will get an institutionalized shape if the EC plays its independent role strongly, he said as a lawyer in his personal reaction. The law minister said he felt that the SC has declared illegal the 13th amendment to the constitution on consideration that the state should be governed by elected representatives of people, and governing the state by unelected persons is unconstitutional. Parliament will take a decision on amending the constitution after considering the SC observations with wisdom he expressed the hope.Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal President Hasanul Huq Inu termed

BNP takes time; allies   worried: Staff Correspondent Court verdict on 13th amendment to the constitution that declared the caretaker government system illegal. The main opposition party's policymakers at a meeting last night chaired by Khaleda Zia reviewed the judgment and finalized their stance on it. The party will give its formal reaction to the judgment at a press conference at its central office at Naya Paltan in the city at 4:00pm.Meeting sources said Khaleda took the views of all those present at the nearly two-hour meeting that started around 9:30pm, and asked the party leaders to be strict on the existing provision of caretaker government.” Chairperson (Khaleda Zia) discussed the issue with the senior leaders and policymakers of the party. We will announce our position tomorrow [Wednesday] at a press conference,” acting Secretary General of BNP Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir told The Daily Start at