Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhary: Role of opposition in ensuring accountability of government

Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhary: Role of opposition in ensuring accountability of government

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prothom hello ,

How does Parliament ensure accountability of the government?

Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury:First of all, these are questions and answers. Members of Parliament can ask questions directly to the Honorable Ministers. Ministers are forced to answer to the Members of Parliament. And they cannot give any answer which they will not be able to complete. The Minister is bound to give a credible answer. This keeps them within the scope of accountability.

Every Wednesday, the Honorable Prime Minister herself answers the questions of the members. This also keeps him within the ambit of accountability. Under the Public Information Disclosure Act, ministers’ attention is also being drawn to matters of urgent public interest. Various important issues are discussed at different times. The government is made accountable by discussing policy issues, proposals etc. in the Parliament. This happens through discussion on the floor of Parliament.

Apart from this, parliamentary committees also have a role. Parliamentary committees oversee each ministry. Committees can raise questions on various issues. The role of parliamentary committees is very important.

prothom hello ,

Of the 62 independent members in Parliament, 59 are Awami League leaders. So actually there are about 15 opposition members. The ‘opposition’ Jatiya Party also contested the elections on the basis of an agreement with the Awami League. So this is a completely one-sided Parliament. To what extent will this Parliament be able to ensure accountability of the government?

Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury: Almost all independent candidates contested against the ‘boat’ to get into Parliament. He may have held various positions in the Awami League, but when he was in the election field, he contested against Nao. So in that sense, he cannot be a member of the treasury bench. As an independent member, he can raise any objection or controversial issue in the Parliament. The constraints of floor crossing or Article 70, i.e. losing one’s parliamentary seat if voting against the party, do not apply to them. Independent members have a lot of freedom of speech in Parliament. They can say whatever they want.

As far as the people of the opposition (caste party) are concerned, I would ask is it a matter of numbers or is it a matter of quality? It is not the size of the opposition in Parliament that is important, but their role. If 11 of them give very constructive criticism, if they vigorously ensure accountability of the government, if they play a good role, it does not matter whether it is a 50-member opposition or a 100-member opposition. It depends on their role.

In the past we have seen an opposition with a very large number of opposition members, but they boycotted Parliament for several days. A culture of boycott does nothing to strengthen democracy. If the opposition is big but they do not have parliamentary practice, how can you call it a functional Parliament?

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