Thursday, 28 September, 2023

No case for harassment to ensure fair, neutral polls: Law Minister tells JS

No case for harassment to ensure fair, neutral polls: Law Minister tells JS

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No government agency will file case for harassment as the Election Commission has taken it as a challenge to hold the upcoming general election in transparent, free, fair, neutral and peaceful manners, said Law Minister Anisul Huq in Parliament on Thursday.

“The Election Commission has taken it as a challenge to hold the election in transparent, free, fair, neutral and peaceful manners. To overcome the challenge, various decisions were taken,” he said replying to a question from Gonoforum MP Mokabbir Khan (Sylhet-2).

The 11-point decision include not lodging cases for harassment by any government agency; preventing attack on contesting candidates, supporters, their houses and business establishments by rival candidates and supporters and in case of such attack, taking prompt action as per law; and recovering illegal arms and ensuring deposition of legal arms before the election.

The other decisions include making proposals to the government so that all political parties can carry out electioneering freely; implementing the recommendations made by the majority in accordance with the Constitution and electoral laws during view-exchange meetings with noted citizens and political parties; appointing qualified and impartial polling officers; and takeing all lawful necessary decisions including the appointment of local and foreign election observers, said the minister.

The rest decisions are holding meetings with the heads of various ministries, divisions, departments and law enforcement agencies of the government, which are involved in the elections, and giving directives to take necessary steps to ensure that they carry out their responsibilities sincerely and impartially in the election; deploying an adequate number of law enforcement agencies to maintain the conducive environment in polling stations and the constituencies; appointing executive and judicial magistrates to strictly enforce the electoral code of conduct and taking legal action against any violators of the electoral code of conduct; and bringing necessary amendments to the Representation of the People Order and the electoral conduct rules, he added.

The Law Minister said since there is an obligation to hold the upcoming 12th parliamentary election by January 29, 2024, the Election Commission has taken an action plan to this end.

“In order to make the upcoming 12th parliamentary election free, fair, impartial and acceptable, the Election Commission has firmly taken necessary steps in advance,” he said.

In order to keep the election process transparent, the EC has decided to publish all the activities related to the election on the website for everyone, to appoint a sufficient number of local and foreign observers as well to provide scopes for electronic and print media to garner news information freely, he said.

The Law Minister said the Election Commission is determined to ensure that the election results are acceptable to all voters and most political parties.

In a bid to conduct the upcoming 12th national election in an impartial and fair manner, the Election Commission shall treat all candidates equally, appoint more qualified officers of the Election Commission as returning officers, appoint neutral assistant presiding officers and presiding officers, relieve biased election officers and take prompt actions against the violators of election laws and codes, he said.