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5 December, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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EC exempted from contempt rule

After accepting a prayer of unconditional apology, the High Court yesterday exempted the chief election commissioner and four other election commissioners from a contempt of court ruling for not taking complaints from candidates into cognizance. The HC bench comprising Justice M Moazzam Husain and Justice Md Badruzzaman passed the order after accepting their apology.
CEC Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, and commissioners Abdul Mubarak, Abu Hafiz, Zabed Ali and Mohammad Shahnewaz on Saturday appeared before the High Court Registrar Office and submitted an application seeking unconditional apology for not complying with the HC order that has asked the EC to dispose of a complaint about anomalies in the elections to char Chabhairab union parishad in Chandpur’s Haimchar upazila.
In April, an aggrieved chairman candidate of the recently-held union parishad (UP) polls filed a writ petition with the HC, as the commission did not dispose of his complaints.
Elections to around 4,000 UPs were held in six phases from March to June this year. The first and second phases, which were held on March 22 and March 31, were marred by irregularities and violence.
Hundreds of complaints were lodged with the EC over poll-time irregularities and violence. The commission was supposed to resolve the complaints. But it neither investigated nor took any action.
Based on the legal provisions, the legal unit gave its opinion that the commission has to take the complaints into cognizance. However, the commission ignored such advice. But the commission advised all the candidates to take their complaints to the election tribunal on 23 April through a letter.
An aggrieved chairman candidate, Zahidul Islam from Chandpur’s Haimchar upazila, filed a writ petition with the High Court in this connection.
On 14 November, during the hearing on a petition filed by Zahidul Islam, the High Court said that the election commission had committed contempt of court by not taking Zahidul Islam’s complaints into cognizance. The HC ordered the election commission to resolve the complaints.
It observed that the election commission has the power to order the candidates but it cannot advise them.
After not complying with the HC directive, the HC said the election commission has committed a quasi-criminal offence by advising the candidates to go to the court, instead of resolving the complaints.
Later, the EC officials filed a petition with the HC seeking unconditional apology for not complying with its order. The commission admitted its advice as a mistake but said it was unintentional. In the application, the election commission also pledged that this mistake would not be repeated.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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