JS body finalises bill to appoint CEC, ECs with some recommended changes

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Dhaka, Jan 24: The parliamentary standing committee on law ministry has finalised the bill titled “Appointment of the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners Bill-2022” — recommending to bring some changes in the draft law including eligibility and ineligibility for appointment of CEC and ECs.

The parliamentary standing committee on law ministry made the recommendations in its meeting at the Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban on Monday.

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The final report will be placed in parliament on Wednesday and the much talked about bill is likely to be passed the following day, Shahiduzzaman Sarker, an Awami League MP and chief of the parliamentary watchdog, told reporters after the two-hour long meeting.

Briefing reporters, Shahiduzzaman said in Section 6 (Gha) of the bill, it was mentioned that any person convicted of a criminal offence, involving moral turpitude and sentenced to at least two-year imprisonment, would not be eligible for the post of CEC and election commissioners.

The parliamentary body has recommended to remove the two-year term of imprisonment and keep only the term “imprisonment”. “Therefore, a person convicted in a criminal offence of moral turpitude for any term shall not be eligible to be appointed as CEC or Election Commissioner,” he added.

Different quarters criticised keeping the two-year provision.

The committee chief also said that the bill stated that in order to become CEC and ECs, one should have at least 20 years of work experience in any important government, judicial, semi-government or private posts.

The parliamentary committee has recommended bringing an amendment in this section and add “autonomous and other professions” besides government, judicial, semi-government or private posts.

Law Minister Anisul Huq placed the bill in the parliament on January 23 seeking to give a legal shield to the current and previous Election Commissions formed through search committees, amid opposition from BNP lawmaker Harunur Rashid.

The bill was later sent to the parliamentary standing committee on the law ministry for scrutiny. The committee was asked to submit its report before the House within seven days. Once passed, the law will provide legal cover to all activities of the search committees.