The CEC said there was no discussion with the Election Commission earlier over shifting the NID services to the Security Services Division
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda on Sunday said the National Identity (NID) card related services should remain under the Election Commission.
“We think the NID card should remain under the Election Commission. Because, the EC created it on the basis of preparation of the voter list… the NID cards came as a by-product of the voter list in the country,” he told reporters at the Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.
His remarks came in the wake of the government’s move to shift the NID card-related services from the Election Commission to the Security Services Division under the Home Ministry.
The CEC said there was no discussion with the Election Commission earlier over shifting the NID services to the Security Services Division. Few days ago, the commission just received a letter over the matter. Then it was discussed in the commission’s meeting, he said.
He said the director general of NID registration wing was asked to prepare a report in this regard raising the Election Commission’s stand and arguments and the report will be given to the cabinet secretary.
Nurul Huda said the shifting issue of NID service is at the very primary stage of discussion. It cannot be done just by giving a letter. “It is a very tough task,” he added.
Mentioning the government’s logic behind the move, he said the government’s suggestion is that the NID services are not under the Election Commission in other countries.
“It is true that the EC does not render the services in other countries. But the situation of Bangladesh should not be compared with that of other countries in this case. There will be no problem if it remains under the EC. The EC is able to render its services,” he said.
In other countries, the NID services are under either the Home Ministry, Local Government Ministry, Law Ministry or a separate body, said the CEC.
But there is also no voter registration campaign in many countries as well. Since the countries have proper birth registration programs, the people become voters automatically just after they cross 18, he said.
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But the situation in the South Asian countries is different as there is no proper infrastructure to fix the age of people. “So, if the NID services remain under the EC, there is no problem. It is our logic,” he added.
Nurul Huda said the commission’s secretary will try to convince in the cabinet or other forum through discussions about the government’s thoughts.
In reply to a question if there would be any problem if the NID services and the electoral roll are under two separate agencies, he said: “There will be a problem. Because, the EC prepares the voter list and fixes the age of voters. The EC has been doing this for long.”
“If the EC prepares the voter list and the NID will be under different authority, the matter of subordination or superiority comes with the particular ministry. It is not accepted in the Constitution.”
The commission should remain separate from any other ministry.
Earlier, Election Commission Secretariat’s officers and employees met the CEC and informed him that they want NID services to remain under the commission.
The Prime Minister's Office has recently instructed the Cabinet Division to take necessary steps to shift NID-related services to the Security Services Division.