Dhaka, Bangladesh
Polls sans dissolving parliament challenge

Polls sans dissolving parliament challenge

Writ petitioner prays for HC stay on schedule

News Desk A writ petition challenging the schedule for holding general election without dissolving the current parliament was filed with the High Court Sunday, halfway through the electoral process. Many in political and press circles began musing about the move as Supreme Court lawyer Eunus Ali Akond submitted the petition-ostensibly amid crosstalk from the ruling quarters and the BNP-led combined opposition coalition on reciprocal accusation of 'hatching plot to foil the polls'. Some even wanted to know about any political identity of the petitioner, who came up with the plea for stay on the election process at a time when both the archrivals are finalizing their lists of nominees to contest the eleventh parliament election with all-party participation at the end of a standoff that had persisted since the opposition-boycotted last polls. The Election Commission announced the election schedule on November 12 for voting in the crucial parliamentary polls on December 30. In the petition the advocate said, "The general election has to be held within 90 days after the parliament is dissolved as per article 123 (3) of the constitution, but the EC has announced the election schedule for holding the election on December 30 while the current parliament is running." As per article 12 of the Representation of the People Order (RPO) and article 66 (2)(cha), he mentioned, a person holding a post of profit in service cannot qualify for contesting parliamentary election. Many parliament members who are taking remuneration from the state are reportedly contesting the ensuing parliamentary election. Therefore, the lawyer argued, the upcoming election cannot be held keeping the parliament in existence. Hearing on the petition for HC writ is likely today at the bench of Mainul Islam Chowdhury and Mohammad Ashraful Kamal, report agencies. The petitioner also seeks the issuance of a rule declaring the schedule as illegal as it was announced without dissolving the national parliament as well as a stay on the election process until the issue is settled. The chief election commissioner, cabinet secretary, law secretary and four others were made respondents. According to section 66 of the constitution, one agency report quoted the petitioner as stating, a person shall be disqualified for election…if s/he holds any office of profit in the service of the Republic or of a statutory public authority. According to the constitution, he further said, those who enjoy government perks and privileges cannot contest any election. "Now ministers and MPs of the present parliament are enjoying government perks and privileges, and they are going to contest the election, which is contradictory to the constitution." Besides, if the election is held without dissolution of parliament, there will be two parliaments after the election, and the number of MPs will stand at 600. "But, according to section 65 of the constitution, the number of parliament members shall be 300," the petition reads. Furthermore, according to section 123, the election should to be held after dissolution of parliament. The Awami League-led coalition government has turned down the BNP-dominated Jatiya Oikya Front pleas for holding the election within 90 days after dissolution of parliament, and holding it under a neutral 'election-time government'. In doing so the ruling side cited provisions of the amended constitution about holding polls in 90 days before expiry of the tenure of parliament and holding it under the incumbent government.

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