President and Parliament

In many countries practising a parliamentary form of government of the Westminster model, Heads of States are constituent parts of their respective Parliament. British Parliament, for example, consists of the Sovereign, the House of Lords and the House of Commons. Parliaments of India and of Pakistan are similarly constituted with the President and two Houses. There is, however, no express provision in the Bangladesh Constitution for making the President a constituent part of Parliament.  He is, however, invested with parliamentary and legislative functions similar to those enjoyed by the Heads of States in the above-mentioned countries. Some of the parliamentary and legislative powers and functions of the President are mentioned below:

a.  Parliament is summoned, prorogued and dissolved by the President in accordance with the advice of the Prime Minister tendered to him in writing.

b. The President may address Parliament and send messages. There is also a mandatory provision in the Constitution that the President shall address Parliament at the commencement of the first session after a general election and also at the commencement of the first session each year. His address is discussed in the House through a motion of thanks.

c.  A Bill passed in Jatiyo Shangshad becomes an Act of Parliament only after President has assented, or is deemed to have assented, to it.

d. No Money Bill can be introduced in Parliament except on the recommendation of the President. When a Money Bill is passed in Parliament and is presented to the President, he has to assent to it within a period of 15 days.

e.  In the case of a Bill, other than a Money Bill, the President may either assent to it or return it to Parliament within 15 days of its presentation to him with a message requesting that one or more of the Bill's provisions be reconsidered. He may also request the consideration of any amendments specified by him in the message. The last, and so far the only, Bill to be returned to Parliament by the President with a message requesting reconsideration was the Code of Civil Procedure (Amendment) Bill, 1998.

f.   When the President returns a Bill to Parliament for reconsideration, the Bill can be presented to him again for assent only if it is passed by Parliament by the votes of a majority of the total number of its members. This second time, the President is required to assent to the Bill within seven days. If he fails to do so, he is deemed to have assented to the Bill on the expiry of that period.

g.  At any time when Parliament is dissolved or is not in session, the President may make and promulgate an Ordinance, if he is satisfied that circumstances obtaining call for immediate legislation. From the time of its promulgation, an Ordinance has the like force of law as an Act of Parliament. An Ordinance has to be laid before Parliament at its first meeting following its promulgation and it ceases to have effect at the expiration of 30 days after it is so laid in Parliament, unless the Ordinance is, in the meantime, repealed or a resolution disapproving of the Ordinance is passed in Parliament.

h.  The President may, upon the advice of the Prime Minister authorise the withdrawal from the Consolidated Fund of the Republic funds necessary to meet expenditure for a period up to sixty days in a particular year pending the making of the grants and passing of the law for appropriation from that Fund by Parliament.

These stipulations in the Constitution, as well as others, leads one to the inevitable conclusion that the President of Bangladesh is, for all practical purposes, a constituent part of Parliament, despite there being no express provision to that effect in the Constitution.