EC accepts AL charter as it omits 2 fronts | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 23, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 23, 2008

Revised Party Constitutions For Registration

EC accepts AL charter as it omits 2 fronts

Asks Jamaat to correct some anti-constitutional provisions, hopes to sort out BNP problems easily

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday accepted Awami League's (AL) revised constitution and decided to register the party as it omitted the names of Bangladesh Chhatra League and Jatiya Sramik League from the list of associated organisations in its charter.
An AL delegation informed the EC at an emergency meeting yesterday afternoon that it finalised a new provision in its charter only saying the two auxiliary bodies consisting of students and workers will be run by their own constitutions.
The AL has also decided to correct its constitution to meet one significant registration criterion that prohibits formation of associated or affiliated bodies consisting of students and workers.
Satisfied by the AL's decision, the EC agreed to accept the party's revised constitution.
"We are now satisfied with their constitution and a notice will be issued soon to register the party," Election Commissioner Muhammed Sohul Hussain told reporters after the meeting at the EC Secretariat.
In another development, an experts committee assigned by the EC for examining registration applications yesterday asked Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami to correct its charter to recognise the plenary powers of parliament to make laws.
Jamaat's revised constitution submitted to the EC on Monday disregards parliament's power saying people must not accept anyone except Allah as a law-making authority.
Another provision of Jamaat's charter that calls for concerted efforts to establish "just rule of Islam" also contradicts the aims and objectives laid down in the country's constitution.
According to the revised Representation of the People Order (RPO), a political party shall not be qualified for registration if the objectives in its constitution are at variance with those in the constitution of the People's Republic of Bangladesh.
But to avoid further difficulties, the EC might not object to other provisions of Jamaat's constitution that still are against the country's constitution, the supreme law of the land, sources in the EC said.
Emerging from a meeting with the EC experts committee, Jamaat's legal affairs Secretary advocate Jasim Uddin Sarker said they discussed a few technical issues but refused to elaborate them.
"I will convey the message to the party's central leadership and come back again tomorrow [today] to inform the commission about the party decision," Jasim told reporters on the EC Secretariat premises.
Meanwhile, the EC is likely to ask the BNP today to correct its revised constitution, submitted to the commission on Monday, by cancelling the status of Jatiyatabadi Chhatra Dal and Jatiyatabadi Sramik Dal as associated organisations, EC sources said.
Officials at the EC Secretariat believe that after the AL's decision regarding its associated organisations the BNP too will agree to correct its revised charter.
Considering the time constraints and prevailing difficulties to deal with political parties, the EC at an emergency meeting yesterday morning decided to hold talks with the major parties to resolve the problems.
Sources said Chief Election Commissioner ATM Shamsul Huda made a phone call to HT Imam, a member of the AL advisory council, during the meeting and invited the party to meet the EC in the afternoon.
Imam, AMA Muhith, another member of the AL advisory council, AL Office Secretary advocate Abdul Mannan Khan and Deputy Office Secretary BM Mozammel Haque arrived at the EC Secretariat at 3:30pm.
Imam told reporters after the meeting that lasted for over one and a half hours that they explained to the commission the provision for retaining associated organisations.
"Students and workers will do politics in their respective fields under their own constitutions. They will not be considered as associated organisations of the party," Imam said.
Mannan said the EC accepted their clarification. "We hope the Election Commission will register the Awami League soon," he added.
In its revised constitution submitted to the EC on October 15, the AL recognised Awami Mohila League, Krishak League, Jatiya Sramik League, Awami Juba League, Awami Swechchhasebak League, Bangladesh Chhatra League, Awami Ainjibi Parishad, Tanti League, Swadhinata Chikitsak Parishad and Juba Mohila League as the party's associated organisations. The AL charter said these auxiliary bodies would be run under their own constitutions.
But the EC experts committee objected to the provision of having associated organisations consisting of students and workers because the RPO does not allow it.
The committee held the first round of talks with an AL delegation last week but could not resolve the problem.
As per the latest changes in the AL constitution, only Chhatra League and Sramik League lose their status as associated organisations.
With the repeal of the previous provision in its constitution, the AL does not now require to let other organisations run their activities under their own constitutions.
An AL leader said it means if the party wants, it can control and supervise the activities of these associated organisations since there is no legal bar to it.
The AL also submitted to the EC bank statements containing information on its bank accounts and balances.
Earlier, it submitted transcript statements of its bank accounts but the EC did not accept that as it did not meet the requirements for registration.

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