Bangladesh Parliament Refuses to Disclose Attendance Records

10 March 2016

The Secretariat of the Bangladesh parliament has rejected requests for the attendance records of the deputies of parliament.

According to Section 7 (q) of the Right to Information Act, providing “information that may be prejudicial to the special rights of the House of the Nation” is not mandatory, according to the Secretariat, as reported by bdnews24.

Former information commissioner Sadeka Halim is quoted as disagreeing, saying that the immunity Section 7(q) gives to legislators relates to courts. “When I was the information commissioner, there were many who sought information about the foreign tours of members of Parliament and members of the Secretariat,” she said, adding, “Even at that time there was a defer-and-delay ploy”

“Citizens deserve to know how many days an MP is present in Parliament,” said Halim, who teaches social sciences at the Dhaka University, served as the information commissioner from 2009 to 2014.

Information Commissioner Nepal Chandra Sarkar told bdnews24.com, “If Parliament declines to provide any information, it has to furnish a valid reason. If a complaint is registered with the Commission concerned, we’ll look into it.”

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