Law Minister Anisul Huq on Wednesday placed the Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021 with a provision of allowing the government to form an ad-hoc committee for a maximum one-year tenure to arrange the Bar Council election in an unusual situation.
It was approved by the Cabinet on July 26 and later the President promulgated the Ordinance on July 28.
The ordinance was promulgated as Parliament was not there in session at that time. As per rules, the ordinance was placed in Parliament on the first day of the session for its approval.
As per the ordinance, if the regular Bar Council election can’t be held by May 31 after every three years, the government can form a 15-member ad-hoc committee for a maximum one year.
In the existing Bangladesh Legal Practitioners and Bar Council Order, 1972, there is no alternative provision, if the regular election cannot be arranged in time due to any natural disaster or something else like ‘acts of God’.
It said, elections to the Bar Council shall always be held so as to conclude on or before the [thirty first day of May] in the year in which the term of the Bar Council expires.
As per the new Ordinance, elections to the Bar Council shall be held so as to conclude on or before the thirty first day of May in the year in which the term of the Bar Council expires.
It said if the elections to the Bar Council cannot be held within the time specified in clause due to pandemic, epidemic, act of God or for any other unavoidable circumstances as may be determined by the government from time to time, the government may, by notification in the official Gazette, constitute an Ad-hoc Bar Council consisting of fifteen members for a term not exceeding one year and this term shall not be further extended.
The Attorney-General for Bangladesh shall be one of the members of the Ad-hoc Bar Council and shall also be its Chairman, it said.
“Notwithstanding anything contained in any other provision of this Order, the Ad-hoc Bar Council shall exercise such powers and functions of the Bar Council as specified in this Order and the rules made thereunder,” it added.