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EC gave ultimatum to law ministry

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Update : Sunday, November 27, 2022

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The Election Commission (EC) has reacted angrily to not being able to know the progress even after 3 months and 15 days after sending the proposal to the Law Ministry to amend the main law of the National Parliament Elections ‘Representation of the People Order (RPO).’

It responded with a third round of letters on Sunday.

In that letter, the Commission has also given an ultimatum to the Ministry of Law to report progress in this regard by December 15. The letter also mentions that this is the last request.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal told reporters in his office that we too cannot pursue a matter forever. For this we want to end the matter. If there is no further response, we will concentrate on other tasks. We may not have to persue this matter. He also said that the commission will take the next decision after December 15.

The EC sent a proposal to the Law Ministry on August 8 bringing several amendments to the RPO in view of the upcoming national elections. Not knowing the progress of the proposal, the Commission sent a letter to the Ministry of Law for the third time on Sunday. A copy of the said letter was given to the President’s Private Secretary and the Prime Minister’s Private Secretary-1.

According to the letter, it is the duty of all executive authorities to assist the Election Commission in fulfilling its duties as per Article 126 of the Constitution of Bangladesh. The Ministry of Law is part of the executive department of the state and government. It is a constitutional statutory duty to assist the Election Commission in discharging its duties.

It is also said that the Election Commission feels that the Commission will not be able to achieve the necessary capacity to fulfill its duties if the requested requests and demands are ignored in violation of the clear provisions of the Constitution and the law. This may raise unwanted doubts in the public mind about the competence, independence and goodwill of the government regarding the election.

In the letter, it was mentioned that no response was received even in two rounds of letters before this. It is said that in view of the need for some amendments, a bill regarding the amendment of the RPO was prepared and sent to the Law Ministry on August 8 to take necessary action. But since no action was taken on the draft bill for a long time, the EC issued two letters on September 28 and October 10. But there was no response from the ministry. The letter lastly requested to inform the EC by December 15.

In this regard, CEC also said that since we have fixed the time, we expect that they will surely respond within that time. Government has various preoccupations. They could not get up on time due to their busy schedule. In response to a question, he said, the government may argue that this amendment is not necessary. The legislative authority is the government and parliament. If they feel that the law is sufficient, there is nothing to be done about it, if they inform the EC, the EC will consider it.

According to EC sources, among the amendments proposed in the existing RPO, the EC’s power to cancel the vote and the presiding officer’s power to close the vote, provision of punishment for intimidating or preventing candidates’ agents from going to the center, punishment for obstructing journalists from performing their duties, party Giving time till 2030 to have women representation in all level committees, increasing the scope of punishment of officials for neglect of duty, making it mandatory for candidates to submit income tax certificate, making it mandatory for candidates and their agents to provide the details of the counting of votes, defaulting bills (electricity, water, gas etc.) till the day before filing nomination papers. ) to provide repayment facility, proposal to provide for submission of amended constitution of political parties to EC within 30 days etc.

These proposals were sent in August. Then on October 4, an amendment proposal regarding EVMs was sent to the Law Ministry. It states that a presiding officer may allow up to 1 percent of the total electorate to vote (using the official’s fingerprint) if the voter’s fingerprints do not match.

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