Friday, 27 May, 2022

EC Formation Bill

JS body suggests 2 changes

  • Special Correspondent
  • 25 January, 2022 12:00 AM
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JS body suggests 2 changes

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A parliamentary watchdog has finalised its report on the much-talked-about bill to formulate a law on formation of the Election Commission (EC), recommending two changes.

It has suggested that the provision that individuals, if sentenced to two-year imprisonment, cannot be eligible for chief election commission (CEC) and election commissioners be dropped and that any individual who worked at autonomous bodies and other professions may be chosen for the posts of CEC and other commissioners.

The Parliamentary Standing       

Committee on Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Ministry made the recommendations from a meeting held at Parliament Secretariat on Monday.

Committee members, including Law Minister Anisul Huq, Mostafizur Rahman, Shamsul Haque Tuku, Abdul Majid Khan, Shameem Haider Patwari, Gloria Jharna Sarker, Rumeen Farhana and Selim Altaf George, attended the meeting held with its Chairman Shahiduzzaman Sarker in the chair.

The bill titled ‘Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners Bill-2022’ was placed in the House on Sunday and later, it was sent to the standing committee, which was advised to submit its report within seven days after scrutiny.

The bill is expected to be placed in Parliament tomorrow along with the scrutiny report.

Committee members said they brought two changes to the bill before finalising it.

“The committee has finalised the bill after an elaborate discussion. We’ve brought some changes to the qualifications and ineligibility categories and the bill will be placed accordingly,” the JS body chairman told reporters after the meeting. 

Section 6 (d) of the bill mentions that individuals convicted for a criminal offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced to at least two-year imprisonment will not be eligible for the post of CEC and election commissioners while Section 5 (c) mentions that Bangladeshi citizens with minimum 50 years of age and having at least 20 years of work experience in important government, semi-government, private or judicial posts will be eligible for the CEC and election commissioners.

The committee finalised the bill recommending dropping the provision of the two-year imprisonment in Section 6 (d) and adding two more categories ---autonomous bodies and other professions -- in Section 5 (c).

Shahiduzzaman said if any individual gets imprisoned for moral turpitude, he/she will not be eligible for the posts of CEC and EC members.

Asked over the allegation that the proposed law has been made to give a legal shield to the Search Committee and the EC, he said, “Many said it is an indemnity. But it is not an indemnity. The Search Committee, formed twice earlier, has been legalised under section 9 of the bill.”

“The President formed the Search Committee through consensus. It’s been covered up by the law. And the law has been formulated on formation of the Election Commission. It is not on the Search Committee,” he said.

 The proposed law placed before Parliament mentions that the appointment to the CEC and EC members through Search Committees is legal and no question can be raised in any court in this regard.