It flays the move to curtail the commission’s power to scrap candidacy
Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has urged the election commissioners to step down amid the move to amend the Representation of the People Order (RPO) to scrap the Election Commission’s power to cancel candidacy of candidates for the national election.
In a media statement on Thursday, it described the move as “suicidal” and said it would weaken the constitutional body.
The initiative to scrap the RPO provisions, which gave the Commission to scrap candidacy upon investigating allegations, is stunning and “nothing but an attempt to make the Election Commission ineffective”, it said.
The nation will benefit if all the commissioners, including the chief election commissioner, voluntarily resign if they feel that they are incapable of discharging the constitutional duties entrusted to them, the release added.
TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said: “According to the subsections 1 and 2 of the 91E of the RPO, 1972, if a complaint is raised against a candidate, it will be investigated and if proven the candidature of the concerned candidate will be canceled and that power is with the Election Commission.
“Whatever reasons that the commission comes up with to justify this move, certainly, this is not for the good instead is a futile attempt to make it completely ineffective.”
“The question arises as to whether this is an attempt to cut off the head due to a headache,” he added.
He said: “We fail to understand why the RPO, 1972 -- a historical document which is a unique reminder of Bangladesh's independence -- needs to be changed without any logical reason.”
According to the subsection (1) of the 91E of the RPO, 1972, “Notwithstanding anything contained in this order or rules, if it appears to the commission on receiving information from any source or written report that, any contesting candidate or his agent or any other person on his behalf, by his order or under his direct or indirect consent, engages or attempts to engage in any serious illegal activity or violates or attempts to violate any provision of this Order or rules or Code of Conduct for which he may be disqualified to be elected as a member, the Commission may pass an order for an investigation of the matter giving the contesting candidate a reasonable opportunity of being heard.”
Also, the subsection (2) of the 91 E of the RPO,1972 states that: “After receiving the investigation report under clause (1), if the commission is satisfied that, the report was true, the commission may, by written order, cancel the candidature of such candidate and in that event, the election shall be held among the other contesting candidates of the concerned constituency; and where only one person remains as a contesting candidate because of cancellation of candidature of the other contesting candidate, the election shall be held under Article 17 for that constituency.”