DHAKA CITY POLLS SCHEDULES
HC wants explanation from govt, ECStaff Correspondent
The High Court on Wednesday wanted to know in four weeks from the government and the Election Commission why they would not be directed to announce the schedule for holding the stalled mayoral elections in Dhaka North and Dhaka South cities.
A bench of Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Muhammad Khurshid Alam Sarkar issued the rule following separate writ petitions filed by Supreme Court lawyers Md Alamgir Hossain and Md Golam Nabi seeking a date for announcing the polls schedule.
The same court on Monday completed hearing on the petitions and deferred for two times passing its order as attorney general Mahbubey Alam prayed for time to make his argument on the matter.
The petitions were filed on Sunday seeking a direction on the chief election commissioner, secretaries of the local government rural development and the election commission for holding the long overdue mayoral polls in Dhaka North City and Dhaka South City.
Petitioners’ lawyer M Badruddoza Badal had submitted that though section 33 of the Local Government (City Corporation) Act 2009 amended in 2012, says that elections in the newly created cities should be held within 180 days, the government and the EC were deliberately delaying the elections on various pretext.
In November 2011, the AL-led government split the historic city of Dhaka by amending the local government law to create DSC and DNC.
Badal submitted that the government also used the amended law to remove the last elected mayor of Dhaka, Sadeque Hossain Khoka, and he was replaced by two appointed administrators in the two new corporations.
Section 33 of the local government city corporation act said that mayor and councilors of every city corporation must be elected through direct voting, he said.
On April 9, 2012, the EC had announced the schedule for holding the mayoral polls in the newly created Dhaka South City and Dhaka North City on May 24, 2012.
On April 16, 2012, following a writ petition, the High Court stayed the mayoral polls for three months and asked the EC and the administrators of the two new city corporations to explain why they should not be directed to hold the elections only after updating the lists of voters, re-demarcating the wards of the newly created city corporations and completing other required legal formalities.
The High Court in a verdict delivered in July 2013 quashed the writ challenging the civic polls.
The last mayoral election in the undivided Dhaka city was held in April of 2002.
BNP leader Sadeque Hossain Khoka was the last elected mayor of undivided Dhaka city.
He overstayed in his office as mayor of Dhaka for four years due to failure of the government to hold the city polls in time as the ruling party said it had no candidate to set against Khoka.
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