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Several petitions question legality of candidacy

  • Published at 12:11 am December 7th, 2018
Web_appeal files_Mehedi Hasan
Stack of appeal files piled at the Election Commission headquarters in Dhaka's Agargaon on Wednesday Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The Election Commission heard and rejected two such petitions on Thursday

While the rejected nomination seekers were busy appealing against the Election Commission’s decision to cancel their nomination applications, several petitions were filed against nominations that got through the commission’s scrutiny. 

As many as 543 petitions were submitted at the Election Commission within the stipulated time frame of Monday and Wednesday against the rejection of nomination papers by returning officers on Sunday.

At the same time, more than two dozens of petitions were filed challenging the validity of nominations accepted by the election officials.

The reasons for challenging the Election Commission’s decision range from hiding crucial information to allegations of loan default. 

The Election Commission heard two such petitions on Thursday – filed in the Nilphamari 4 and Dinajpur 4 seats; both were rejected. 

Among the high-profile appeals, one is the 14-party alliance leader and Workers’ Party of Bangladesh Chairman Rashed Khan Menon’s appeal challenging the legality of the candidacy of the BNP Standing Committee member Mirza Abbas in the Dhaka 8 constituency. 

Menon’s lawyer Ziad Al Malum filed the appeal on his behalf on Wednesday. 

Both Menon and Abbas had sought nomination from the Dhaka 8 seat. 

“Abbas hid information about his wife Afroza Abbas' loan default in his affidavit. Moreover, he mentioned in his affidavit that he has more than Tk73 lakh of loans from his wife, his wife said he owed her Tk1 crore. This is contradictory information,” Ziad said.

Abbas has been facing problems with his nomination application – the returning officer in Dhaka refused to accept his nomination papers because he submitted them after 5pm on the last day of submissions.

Later, he submitted the nomination papers to the chief election commissioner on December 1, but the papers were not sent to the concerned returning officer to be scrutinized.

On December 3, Abbas filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the Election Commission's decision.

Thursday, the Supreme Court asked the Election Commission to accept and scrutinize his papers within 24 hours. 

Another high-profile appeal was filed against Jatiya Party (JaPa) Chairman HM Ershad, who is contesting the polls from the Rangpur 3 constituency.  

Progotishil Ganatantrik Party candidate Sabbir Ahmed filed the appeal against Ershad, citing lack of information and fraud as the reasons. 

“Ershad said he has a BA degree, but he has not shown any certificate,” Sabbir said. “He also hid information about a large sum of money he has saved abroad. He has about $3.73 million at the National Union Bank in the UAE, which he did not mention in his affidavit.” 

A petition has been filed against Chief Whip in parliament and Awami League candidate in Patuakhali 2 seat, ASM Firoz, by a local resident named Sayem Mallik, who claimed Firoz has defaulted on his loan payments. 

JaPa leader and Sylhet 2 lawmaker Yahiya Chowdhury appealed against the candidacy of BNP leader Tahmina Rushdi.

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune over phone, Yahiya said: “Tahmina is currently employed at Dhaka University. She is a government employee, which means she cannot legally be a candidate.”

He also petitioned against the appeals of independent candidates Muhibor Rahman and Enamul Haque Sardar in the same constituency, both of whom were rejected during the Election Commission assessment. 

“Many candidates were rejected because they did not have legal papers to submit, failed to show 1% voter support, did not put signature, or did not maintain their serial numbers. They have appealed with the Election Commission against its decision. But I object to that, and have appealed against their appeal,” Yahiya said. 

Other petitions

In Manikganj 3, State Minister of Health and Family Welfare and Awami League candidate Zahid Malik appealed against BNP candidate Afroz Khan Rita's legality.

In Bhola 4, BNP candidate Nazim Uddin Alam challenged the legality of sitting Awami League MP and Deputy Minister of Environment and Forests Abdullah Al Islam Jakob’s candidacy.

In Pirojpur 3, JaPa candidate Rustom Ali Farazi appealed against independent candidate Ashraful Rahman.

In Bogra 3, Sarwar Khan appealed against BNP candidate Abdul Momin Talukdar for hiding information in his affidavit.

Petitions were filed against Election Commission-approved candidates in Tangail 2, Netrokona 1, Chittagong 6, Feni 2, Narayanganj 3, Cox’s Bazar 2, Comilla 9 and Brahmanbaria 5 as well. 

Petition against returning officers

Petitions were filed with the Election Commission against some returning officers for approving some nominations. 

One of the petitions is against Jhalakathi Deputy Commissioner and Returning Officer Md Shahjahan Omar, on behalf of the Awami League candidate in Jhalakathi 1 Bazlul Haque Harun. 

Petitions were filed against Barisal deputy commissioner and returning officer by BNP candidate Mezbah Uddin Farhad in Barisal 4, and JaPa candidate Nasrin Jahan Ratna in Barisal 6. 

Supreme Court lawyers Ibrahim Khalil and Md Nazrul Islam submitted the petitions on the petitioners’ behalf.

Banks file petitions against nominations

State-owned bank Sonali Bank Ltd asked the Election Commission to cancel the candidacy of Abul Kashem in Tangail 5 constituency on allegation of loan default.

Meanwhile, Premier Bank Ltd filed another appeal against BNP candidate Manjurul Ahsan Munshi in Comilla 4 for loan default.

The same bank filed another petition against BNP leader Abdul Hannan in Chandpur 4, said Advocate Shamim Shardar who filed both the petitions on the bank’s behalf.

AKM Lutfur Rahman, manager of Premier Bank in Mymensingh, filed an appeal against BNP candidate Ali Asghar in Mymensingh 1, on allegation of loan default. Advocate Mojammel Haque filed the petition on his behalf.