CEC and EC Appointment Bill 2022 passed in Parliament
The "Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners Bill-2022" was passed in parliament today.
Law Minister Anisul Haq placed the bill which was passed unanimously by voice vote.
MPs of BNP, Jatiya Party, Gonoforum and Workers Party criticised the proposed law saying that it was enacted hurriedly and without discussion with the political parties and other stakeholders.
They also said the proposed law was not meant for forming the Election Commission but to form a search committee.
Opposition MPs also said the proposed law is contradictory to the constitution.
Their proposal, however, was rejected by voice vote.
In reply to the opposition MPs' proposal and statement against the bill, the law minister said almost all political parties opined for a law in line with the constitution on the formation of EC.
The minister firmly said the president will appoint competent, honest, neutral and just persons as CEC and ECs in line with the law.
Anisul accepted several amendment proposals from Jatiya Party BNP, Workers Party and Jatiya Samajtantrik Dal MPs, including giving 15 working days' time to the search committee to complete their work. In the bill, the time was 10 days.
The law minister on January 23, placed the bill in parliament seeking to give a legal shield to the current and previous Election Commissions formed through search committees. It was sent to the respective scrutiny committee for deeper examination.
On the same day, the chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law Shahiduzzaman Sarker placed the committee report with some changes in the original bill.
The qualification of CEC and election commissioners, after the recommendation from the parliamentary committee, are as follows: they must be Bangladeshi citizens, be at least 50-year-old, have at least 20 years of work experience in important government, semi-government, private, judicial, autonomous and other institutions.
A person who had once held the post of CEC or the chief justice, would not be eligible for the post of the CEC. But if a person held the post of election commissioner, they might be considered for the post of CEC.
A justice of the Appellate Division, nominated by the chief justice, will be the head of the six-member search committee.
The five other members will be a justice of the High Court Division nominated by the chief justice, the controller and auditor general, the chairman of Bangladesh Public Service Commission, two other eminent personalities including one woman nominated by the president.
Though the constitution suggests the appointment of the CEC and other election commissioners under law, but no law was not formulated in the past.
The bill also mentioned that the previous search committees, their functions and the appointments of the CECs and other commissioners made following their recommendations will be deemed valid, and no question can be raised in any court over the matter.
The government move came nearly 50 years after the constitution prescribed enacting a specific law for forming the EC.
The tenure of the incumbent KM Nurul Huda led Election Commission will expire on February 14.