Law Minister Anisul Huq today said the government is sincere to formulate a law for formation of the Election Commission (EC), but it would not be right to make it in a hurry.

“The next session of parliament will start in the last phase of January next year. As far as I know, the tenure of the current Election Commission will expire on February 14 or 15 next year.

“Practically speaking and with due respect,” the minister said, “I am saying that it is not possible to make a law for the formation of the Election Commission within this short period.”

He made the remarks after holding a meeting with a delegation of Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) led by its Secretary Dr Badiul Alam Majumder at a law ministry office at Secretariat last night.

During the meeting, the representatives of the civil society platform (Shujan) handed over the final draft of the proposed law on “Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner’s Appointment Act 2021” to the law minister.

“We must examine the draft. The law won’t be made for today or tomorrow but to remain in Bangladesh permanently. We will discuss with all stakeholders before its formulation,” Anisul Huq said.

Replying to a question, the law minister said it will not be proper if an ordinance is issued bypassing the Jatiya Sangsad for the formation of the EC.

Contacted, eminent jurist Dr Shahdeen Malik, who was among the Shujan representatives, told The Daily Star that the government should formulate a law for the appointment of the EC for holding election in a fair manner and for its (government’s) own interest.

If the government formulates such a law, people’s faith on it will increase, he said, adding that if the next national election is held under an EC, which is not formed through the law, people’s faith will reduce.

Replying to a question, Shahdeen Malik said the government can issue an ordinance through the president for formation of the election commission because it is not a very big task.

Shujan members Syed Abu Naser Bukhtear Ahmed, Professor Robaet Ferdous, and Dilip Kumar Sarker, among others, attended the meeting.

According to the draft, selected citizens of Bangladesh — with a minimum age of 45 years, knowledge of law with proven administrative skills, honesty and supposed impartiality, holding a minimum bachelor degree from a recognised university, and at least 20 years working experience in any important government, semi-government or private position — will be eligible to be an election commissioner.

Source: The Daily Star | November 19, 2021