02:33 PM, December 12, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:00 PM, December 12, 2018

HC questions legality of EC’s decision to appoint DCs as returning officers

The High Court (HC) today questioned the legality of the Election Commission’s decision to appoint deputy commissioners and divisional commissioners as returning officers for the upcoming general election slated for December 30.

The court also issued a rule asking the authorities concerned of the government and the EC to explain in three weeks why the decision should not be declared illegal.

The HC bench of Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Liton came up with the rule after hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Abdur Rahmanchallenging the legality of the EC’s decision.

Petitioner’s lawyer Barrister Saqeb Mahbub told The Daily Star that the EC cannot appoint DCs as the returning officers throughout the country as per the article 4 of the Representation of People Order (RPO). Rather it only can appoint returning officers from its689 election officers, he said.

The lawyer added that the appointment of the deputy commissioners and divisional commissioners as the ROs for holding the election is a violation of the RPO.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Mahbubey Alamsaid there is no legal bar for the DCs and divisional officers to discharge election duties as ROs following the HC rule as it did not pass any stay order today.

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