HC clears way for DNCC by-election
There is no longer any bar to holding by-election to the mayoral post of Dhaka North City Corporation as the High Court yesterday cleared the way for it.
The court lifted its earlier orders that stayed the process of holding the by-polls scheduled for February 26 last year.
Hours after the HC order, Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda said they will announce a fresh schedule for the polls upon discussions with other commissioners.
"We are considering holding the election sometime between the staggered upazila polls [slated for March]," he told reporters in reply to a query.
The DNCC mayoral post fell vacant following the death of Annisul Huq on November 30, 2017. He was elected mayor on April 28, 2015.
The EC had also moved to hold elections to 36 councillor posts in the 36 new wards -- 18 each in the DNCC and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC).
But the polls could not be held as the HC stayed the election schedule for six months. The court order came following the filing of three writ petitions that challenged the legality of the schedule.
Jahangir Alom, chairman of Beraid union parishad, and Ataur Rahman, chairman of Bhatara union parishad, filed two petitions with the HC on January 16 last year.
They challenged the legality of the schedule for the polls to the posts of the mayor and the councillors of 18 new wards under the DNCC.
Mozammel Mia, a voter in Demra union, filed the other writ petition with the HC, challenging the legality of the schedule for the elections to the councillors' posts in 18 wards included in the DSCC in 2016.
Following the filing of three leave-to-appeal petitions by the EC, the Supreme Court on February 25 last year asked the HC bench led by Justice Gobinda Chandra Tagore to expeditiously hear and dispose of the petitions.
Yesterday, the HC bench of Justice Gobinda and Justice Mohammad Ullah withdrew the stay order and rejected the three writ petitions as no lawyer appeared at the court for the petitioners.
Contacted, Jahangir Alom told The Daily Star that they could not follow the HC proceedings on the petitions as they were busy with the December 30 election.
Asked about the next course of action, Jahangir, also general secretary of Badda thana Awami League, said they will go through the verdict first and then decide on it.
Deputy Attorney General ASM Nazmul Haque told this newspaper that following the HC order, there is no legal bar on the EC to holding the DNCC and DSCC elections.
He, however, said the EC will have to announce a fresh schedule for the polls.
The DNCC is now being run by a panel mayor.
The absence of a mayor has resulted in a slowdown of work of the city corporation, affecting the services in the DNCC area.
In terms of population, the DNCC is the country's largest city corporation with 23.45 lakh voters.