HC suspends Sylhet-3 by-poll until Aug 5 in lockdown

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Dhaka, Jul 26: The High Court has suspended the Sylhet-3 by-poll to August 5 due to the restrictions imposed by the coronavirus lockdown.

A single-judge bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim made the decision on Monday after hearing petitions from six Supreme Court advocates and seven voters from the constituency.

The petition was made at the High Court on Monday, a day after a legal notice was sent to Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda requesting the suspension of the polls.

“We have received an order from the court,” said EC Secretary Humayun Kabir Khandaker. “The Sylhet-3 by-poll will be suspended until August 5.

The Election Commission had already delayed the by-poll several times before it set July 28 as the date for the election. The polls will now be delayed further.

The Sylhet-3 seat was left vacant after the death of MP Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury on March 11.

The Bangladesh constitution states: “An election to fill the seat of a member of Parliament which falls vacant otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of Parliament shall be held within ninety days of the occurrence of the vacancy.”

“Provided that in a case where, in the opinion of the chief election commissioner, it is not possible, for reasons of an act of God, to hold such election within the period specified in this clause, such election shall be held within ninety days following next after the last day of such period.”

Accordingly, the Election Commission has until Sept 10 to hold the election.

“The court order will be discussed at a meeting of the Election Commission and a decision on the new date will made then,” EC Secretary Khandaker said.

Advocate Mohammad Shishir Monir represented the petitioners at Monday’s hearing, while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Deputy Attorney General Bepul Bagmar represented the state.