DNCC Mayoral By-Polls: Stay period longer than reported
The mayoral by-polls to Dhaka North City Corporation were stayed for six months, not for three months, according to the lawyer's certificate collected by the Election Commission.
On January 17, the media reported that the High Court in an open courtroom has ordered a three-month stay on the polls proceedings following two writ petitions. The voting was supposed to take place on February 26.
Meanwhile, the commission was yet to take any step to have the order vacated or the writ petitions disposed of. EC officials said they were waiting to get the certified copy of the order for deciding the next course of action.
“We have collected a copy of the order. Earlier, we heard that the election had been stayed for three months. But now, the copy says that it is six months," Helaluddin Ahmed, acting secretary to the EC, told The Daily Star yesterday.
"We are waiting to get the certified copy of the court order for deciding what we will do next," he said.
Ahmed said the commission would have a regular meeting on Thursday and it would discuss the matter if it received the copy by that time.
The commission collected the lawyer's certificate regarding the January 17 court order on Monday afternoon and the commissioners discussed the matter among themselves unofficially.
Experts said article 125 of the constitution was a safeguard for the EC, which can appeal against the stay order.
According to the article, “A court shall not pass any order or direction, ad interim or otherwise, in relation to an election for which a schedule has been announced, unless the Election Commission has been given reasonable notice and an opportunity of being heard.”
Ahmed claimed that the commission had not received the notice before the court passed the stay order.
The Daily Star has obtained a copy of the lawyer's certificate, which says the HC bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed stayed the election for six months.
Jahangir Alom, chairman of Beraid union parishad, and Ataur Rahman, chairman of Bhatara union parishad, filed the two writ petitions with the court on January 16 seeking the stay.
Jahangir is also the general secretary of Badda Thana Awami League while Ataur is the treasurer of Dhaka North City BNP.
The HC also questioned the legality of the schedule of the DNCC mayoral by-polls and the elections to 18 new wards under the city corporation. Besides, it issued two rules asking the authorities concerned of the EC and the government to explain in four weeks why the schedule should not be declared illegal.
The court came up with the move as the petitioners did not receive the voters' list from the EC.
Meanwhile, election experts said there is little possibility of holding the DNCC polls before the next parliamentary polls as the EC would also have to organise five more city corporation elections during that time.
Brig Gen (retd) M Shakhawat Hossain, a former election commissioner, said, “It is almost impossible to hold the DNCC election before the next parliamentary election because there will be some city corporation elections, by-elections and Eid within or after six months [from now]. After that, preparations for the next general election will continue in full swing."