None was given indemnity in EC formation law: Anisul Huq
No one was given indemnity in the Election Commission formation bill that was passed in the parliament today, Law Minister Anisul Huq said.
Awami League does not walk on the path of indemnity, he said, adding that "their hearts bleed when indemnity is mentioned".
A legal coverage has been given in formulating the law and none was given special protection, he added.
The minister was responding to lawmakers while placing the proposed bill -- "Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Other Election Commissioners Bill-2022" -- to the selection committee.
Lawmakers from Jatiya Party and BNP criticised the proposed law saying that it was enacted hurriedly.
"I said that it's not possible to enact the law during the tenure of the present Election Commission. Because as I said, it would be difficult to pass this law during the limited period as the parliament sat for a shorter time during the pandemic," he said.
In this context, he further said, "A delegation of Shujan (Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik) came to me with a draft law and proposed to pass it. I told them that it would take time for the law to be passed. They also placed a proposal to do it by ordinance. I told them that I will not pass this law bypassing the parliament. We will not enact this law without placing it before the parliament."
Replying to a query, he said that all the parties who had gone for dialogue with the president and those who did not go, have proposed to form the EC through a new law.
"We were not in a hurry. The talk on the law started long time ago. The law was discussed in 2017 when the political parties had a dialogue with the prime minister and then the PM asked to formulate this law," he added.
MPs criticise law minister
Strongly opposing the bill, BNP MP Harunur Rashid said, the law is a ploy by the government to execute new strategy in the next national election.
People think that the government is making a mockery in the name of enacting the EC law, he said.
Lambasting the law minister for enacting such a law, BNP MP Rumeen Farhana said enactment of the law in a hurried manner is nothing but an eyewash as it was done without talking to the stakeholders.
This law has been rejected not only by BNP but also by various political parties and civil society.
Rumeen said, "In the proposed law, the EC will be formed only by the will of the government and the prime minister. That Election Commission will not be independent, it will be the Ministry of Election Affairs of the government."
JP MP Shameem Haider Patwary said the EC bill contradicts the Constitution. It would be unconstitutional if the law is passed without amending the constitution, he added.
Workers Party president Rashed Khan Menon said many questions have been raised about this law which need to be discussed.
Menon also demanded that at least the names proposed by the search committee be made public and that the president later appoint CEC and ECs from them after considering public opinion.
Jatiya Party's Fakhrul Imam said if this law is passed without amending Article 48 of the constitution, it will be in conflict with the constitution. He also proposed to include MPs in the Search Committee.
Jatiya Party's Mujibul Haque Chunnu said that the present Election Commission is 100% dependent on bureaucrats.
Gonoforum MP Mokabbir Khan said, "The law that we had proposed during the dialogue with the president, was not reflected in the proposed law."