National, Front Page

Epoch-making EC bill passed

in 50 years of independence

Published : 27 Jan 2022 11:57 PM

The National Parliament on Thursday passed the much- talked- about "Appointment of the chief election commissioner and election commissioners Bill, 2022" aiming to form the next Election Commission under a new law.

Advocate Anisul Huq, Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, piloted the bill in the House which unanimously passed it by voice votes with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

Earlier on January 23, the Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister placed the bill in the House.

According to Article 118 (1) of the Constitution, the bill will give a legal shield to the appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and election commissioners to form the EC.

The tenure of the incumbent CEC KM Nurul Huda led election commission will expire on Feb 14.

Placing the bill, the law minister said the bill has been proposed to form a six-member search committee for recommending the names of qualified persons who will be eligible for appointment of the CEC and ECs .

Before enacting the law, opposition Jatiya Party and lawmakers of other political parties like BNP, Gonoforum demanded public review and the amendment to the Constitution.

But later the proposals for seeking public review by the opposition lawmakers were rejected through voice votes by the treasury bench lawmakers.  

Discussing elaborately the draft law, Huq said the enacting of the law will not bypass the Article 48 of the Constitution as the law has not imposed any obligation on the president to discuss others on giving his nomination for the search committee.

Talking about caretaker government provision, he said the Supreme Court and the High Court also declared the caretaker system illegal, but the BNP has no respect for the court verdict.  

Rejecting BNP’s concern about the law, law minister said BNP had pursued unfair means by appointing Justice M A Aziz as the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and got enlisted 1.30 crore fake voters.   

BNP had done this to win the elections unilaterally, said the law minister explaining the justification of enacting the law.

He said that transparency and neutrality of the search committee had been ensured in the proposed law.

He claimed that the proposed law was much better than relevant laws in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Germany, Nepal, Bhutan and many other countries.

The law has been enacted to form a transparent and powerful commission in line with the example of the parliamentary democracy, the minister added.  

Earlier on January 17, the cabinet approved the draft bill.

The Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Division placed the bill titled ‘The Chief Election Commissioner and the Election Commissioners Appointment Bill 2022’, proposing the formation of a search committee led by an Appellate Division judge.

The search committee will also have a High Court Division judge, the comptroller and auditor general, the Public Service Commission chairman and two eminent citizens, nominated by the president, as its members to find suitable persons for appointment as CEC and ECs, according to the bill.

The AD judge and the HC judge will be nominated by the chief justice.

The cabinet has approved the draft bill, having a provision for a six-member search committee to find suitable candidates for the CEC and the election commissioners.

The proposed law would have a retrospective effect with the section that all the Election Commissions constituted in the past would be deemed to have been formed under the new law.

The government move came in the wake of demand from major political parties and civil society organisations for the enactment of a law on the formation of the Election Commission as successive governments in the past 50 years of the country’s independence have framed no law for the purpose.