POST TIME: 2 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
EC seeks stay on HC order halting DNCC by-polls

EC seeks stay on HC order halting DNCC by-polls

After facing widespread criticism over its role, which was blamed for the High Court (HC) order staying the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) mayoral by-polls, the Election Commission yesterday filed two separate leave-to-appeals with the Supreme Court (SC) seeking stay on the HC order that halted the poll process. Chamber Judge of the Appellate Division Justice Syed Mahmud Hussain will hold hearing on the petitions on Sunday.

Advocate Towhidul Islam filed the appeals with the SC for staying the operation of the High Court order halting the mayoral election and polls to 18 wards. In its appeals, the Election Commission said the writ petition, on which the HC stayed the DNCC election process, ‘is misconceived and not acceptable’.

On January 17, the HC stayed the DNCC mayoral by-polls and election to the positions of councillors in 18 newly added wards and six female councillors from the reserved seats. The polls were scheduled for February 26.

Following the order, country’s leading constitution experts, local government experts, civil society members and politicians blamed lapses of the Election Commission for the court stay on the polls.

They said the commission’s inefficiency and incapability was responsible for the legal problem. The EC failed to plug the loopholes of the law before announcing the election schedule for the DNCC polls, they noted.

The BNP, one of the major political parties and arch rival of the ruling Awami League, claimed that the Election Commission, in connivance with the government, rolled dices so that pleas can be filed with the court seeking a stay on the polls.

 Announcing schedule of the polls keeping legal flaws was the ‘joint venture of the government and the Election Commission to foil the election’, the party said.

On January 17, the bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Zafar Ahmed passed the interim orders asking the Election Commission and the government to explain in four weeks the legality of the DNCC election schedule announced on January 9.

Besides, it issued two rules asking the authorities concerned of the EC and the government to explain in four weeks why the schedule should not be declared illegal.

The respondents include the chief election commissioner, local government and rural development ministry secretary and the Dhaka north city acting mayor.