The Election Commission has transferred its Joint Secretary for Legal Affairs Nurul Islam Khan for opposing a decision of the commission.
The joint secretary has reportedly told the commission in a meeting that giving 15 days to the Bangladesh Nationalist Front (BNF), a new political party that had sought registration, was illegal.
In the meeting, held on July 17, the EC decided to give 15 days to the BNF, asking it to bolster its activities at the grassroots level for qualifying for registration.
Meeting sources said, Nurul Islam Khan, claiming that the decision was "totally illegally," had an altercation with Election Commissioner Abdul Mobarak.
After the meeting, his personal was sent to the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad. The CEC then asked to transfer the joint secretary immediately.
"Nurul Islam Khan told the meeting that there was no example in the history of the commission of extending time frame for giving advantage to any political party. If any new political party fails to submit its organisational structure by the original deadline, there was no procedure allow more time," meeting sources said.
"Nurul Islam also said the commission had by then already finished investigations. Under such circumstances, giving time to the BNF was not legal. If the commission increased the time for BNF, questions might arise over the issue," the sources added.
Brushing aside Nurul Islam's observation, EC Abdul Mobarak had reportedly proposed at the commission meeting to give 15 more days the BNF and the commission approved it.
Officials of law division of the EC said transferring the joint secretary for legal affairs so close to the general elections could have negative impacts.
When asked about the matter, EC Secretary Dr Mohammad Sadik said that he could not tell anything about the matter.
EC Md Shah Newaz, however, said joint secretary Nurul Islam Khan wanted to leave the EC.
The EC has recently issued the papers for his release, he added.
When asked whether any argument took place in the commission meeting, the commissioner said: "I do not know anything about the matter."
Nurul Islam Khan could not be immediately contacted because this correspondent found his cellular phone switched off.
His family members said he had gone to Canada for medical purposes.
Meanwhile, the government has transferred Nurul Islam Khan to the Customs, Excise and VAT Appellate Tribunal.
However, the EC secretary has reportedly requested the public administration ministry to not transfer Nurul Islam from the EC.
According to the Representation of the People Order, for registering with the EC, a party must have a central committee, committees in at least 21 districts and at least 200 members in at least 100 upazilas.
The EC initially refused the BNF because the new party failed to meet most of the RPO stipulations.
Former BNP leaders Nazmul Huda and Jahanara Begum floated BNF in August 2012 although Huda was ousted from the party a few months later.