The Election Commission is pushing back against allegations that it was negligence on their part that led to the postponement of a by-election for the post of mayor of Dhaka North, as well as voting for 36 new councillor posts equally divided between the North and South city corporations, on the strength of a High Court judgement.
Acting Secretary to the commission Helaluddin Ahmed on Thursday instead pointed to "legal complexities" as the grounds for the court’s verdict.
The commission initiated the move for arrangement of the by-elections and announced by-polls schedules for Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) after receiving request from the LGRD Ministry, he told a press briefing after a meeting of the commission.
Helaluddin said the commission conducts the national election as their constitutional duty, while arranging local government elections following requests of the ministry.
"There is a law cell in the Local Government Ministry. The ministry requests us through letter after getting clearance from its law cell," he added.
The Election Commission on January 9 announced the by-election schedules for the DNCC mayoral post, the councillor posts in 18 new wards of DNCC and 18 new wards of DSCC.
But the High Court has recently stayed for three months the DNCC mayoral by-polls and elections to the councillor posts in 36 new wards under both city corporations.
Acting Secretary Helaluddin said the commission had discussed the court orders during the normal course of the day and decided to postpone the by-election process until the stay orders are withdrawn.
He said the commission meeting took a decision in principle to introduce voter registration process for Bangladeshi expatriates in the foreign lands. A seminar will be held over the issue in the third week of February.
A policy will be prepared following recommendations received from the seminar in this regard, he added.
Helaluddin said the commission will start providing laminated national identity (NID) cards among those who became voters after 2012 but did not get the NID cards.
He also added that the commission has also decided to amend the law for making transgender persons voters with 'third gender' identity.