EC seeks power to scrap status | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, August 19, 2010 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, August 19, 2010

False or Concealed Info by MPs

EC seeks power to scrap status

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The Election Commission seeks to have the authority to scrap parliament membership for concealing facts or giving false information in affidavits submitted to the EC before parliamentary polls.
It wants to empower voters to file complaints with the EC against any parliamentary candidate or a lawmaker any time for holding back facts or providing false information in the affidavit, said a source in the commission.
Election Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussein at his office yesterday said the commission seeks to have the authority through amendment to electoral laws to take actions after polls for concealing facts or giving false information in the affidavit.
For lack of legal provisions, the commission could not take actions against three lawmakers, who allegedly gave false information in affidavits submitted to the EC in the last parliamentary election.
The commission however can cancel candidacy during an election if any candidate is found guilty of concealing facts or giving false information in the affidavit. But once the election is over, the commission can do little about it.
The EC last year moved to take actions against BNP lawmaker Salauddin Quader Chowdhury and Jatiya Party lawmaker ABM Ruhul Amin Hawlader for giving false information about academic qualification in the affidavit.
But the commission could not proceed as the existing law does not empower them to take action on such grounds.
The constitution however empowers the EC to vacate a lawmaker's seat in parliament to settle a dispute over floor crossing or ignoring party decision on parliamentary affairs.
An allegation of giving false information on academic qualification was raised against another Jatiya Party lawmaker HM Golam Reza. The EC expressed its inability to act on it and the matter now rests with the apex court.
An EC official said they have already drafted proposals for bringing amendment to the Representation of the People's Order (RPO).
According to the draft proposal, a person shall be disqualified from contesting election or being a parliament member for concealing facts or putting false information in the affidavit.
The official said the commission stresses the need for providing voters with correct information on parliamentary candidates to help them make the right choice.
Following a Supreme Court judgement, the candidates were asked for the first time to submit eight-point details in affidavits before the last general election.
A provision was included in the RPO asking the parliamentary candidates to submit personal details on eight counts including academic qualification, profession and income.
The EC disseminated the information among voters during the last parliamentary election.
The EC is preparing proposals for amending the RPO to arrange projection meetings as part of electioneering to discourage the contestants from holding public rallies before parliamentary polls.
The other draft proposals call for giving the commission the authority to check whether a registered political party is functional or not and take actions against any party for failure to turn in annual report on financial transactions.
Election Commissioner Sohul said they would hold dialogues with political parties for their opinion on the proposed electoral reforms.
"Decisions will be taken in consultation with political parties."

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