Monday, August 10, 2009

Bangladesh, Constitutionalism

From time immemorial local self Govt. prevailed in India to a far greater extent than anywhere else in the world.This was in the form of a small state in miniature with all the local needs for sanitation, communication, judiciary and the police by assemblies of the people themselves with a chief executive officer.The british Govt. for spreading their net work of taxation and other exploiting agencies triesd to revive the system of local self govt. in the vast rural areas as well as towns.The Bengal regulations were passed in 1816 and 1819 authorising the govt. to levy money for the maintenance of ferries andand the repaie and construction of roads, bridge and drains.In administering the fund so raised, the govt. were advised by the local committees, with the magistrate as secretary, which they appointed in each district.A great stimulus was given to the development of local self Govt. by the Govt. of India's resolution of 1870. Within a year acts were passed in various provinces to increase the cess of different provinces.
Lord ripon (!827-1909 ) made an earnest endeavour to remove the anamolies within the system. he put his ideas in the form of resolution in May 1882;

Lord Ripon (1827-1909)

i) The sub-division, not the district,should be the maximum area served by one committee or local board, with primary boards, under it, serving very small areas,so that each member of it might possess knowledgeof, and interest in its affairs, ii) The local boards should consist of a large majority of elected non-official members, and be presided over by a non-official Chairman.

Here was the real begining of self Govt. But unfortunately the resolution was not given effect to many provinces. Under the act finally passed in 1885 the District Boards began to function under the Chairman of a District Magistrate.

Beginning Of Self Govt.

The first steps were taken towards self Govt. in British India inthe late 19th century with the appointment of Indian Councellors to advise the British Viceroy and the establishment of Provincial councils with India members, The British subsequently widened partocipation in legislative councils with the Indian Councils Act of 1892. Municipal Corporations and district boards were created for local administration, they included elected indian members.

The Govt. of India act 1909-also known as the Morley-Minto reforms -gave Indians limited roles in the central and provincial legislatures, known as legislative councils, Indians had previously been appointed to legislative councils , after the reforms some were elected to them.

Lord Morley

Earl Minto

At the centre the majority of Council members continued to be Govt.-appointed officials, and the viceroy was in no way responsible to the legislature. At the Provincial level, the elected members,together with un-official appointees, outnumbered the appointed officials, but responsibility of the governor to the legislature was not contemplated. Morley made it clear in introducing the legislation to the British Parliament that parliamentary self-govt. was not the goal pof the British Govt.

The morley-minto reforms were a milestone . Step by step, the elective principle was introduced for membership in Indian legislative councils. The communal electorates were later extented to other communities and made a political factor of the indian tendency toward group identification through religion.