EC pins hope on ordinanceTaib Ahmed
The Election Commission is pinning its hope on promulgation of an ordinance to amend the Representation of the People Order 1972 as the chance of the RPO amendment bill passage in the next session is very thin.
President Abdul Hamid has convened the 20th parliamentary session of the JS on September 12 which is believed to be the last session of the ninth parliament ahead of the 10th parliamentary polls slated to be held at the latest on January 24, 2014.
The commission on July 25 sent the proposed amendment to the Representation of the People Order 1972 to the law ministry for its vetting for the second time, though the present set up of the election commissioners took charge in early 2012.
Earlier, the EC had sent the proposed amendment in the first week of May to the law ministry, but the ministry sent it back to the commission giving some reservations to some of the amendments the EC had proposed.
But, even after sending the RPO amendment proposal to the ministry, it asked the law ministry to halt the process saying it would bring further changes to its proposal.
On July 30, the chief election commissioner, Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, told newsmen that the commission has decided to repeal the RPO Article 91E which empowers the commission to cancel candidature of any candidate to be found guilty of violation of electoral laws.
The commission, however, decided to retreat from its position to repeal the article, saying it would take time to make a final decision in this regard.
Against this backdrop, the law ministry is not being able to forward the proposed RPO amendment in the bill format to the cabinet so that it could be placed in the next parliamentary session, said EC officials.
‘Even if the law ministry processes the bill and sends it to the cabinet without waiting for EC’s decision on Article 91E, the chance is very thin that the RPO amendment bill will be placed before the next parliamentary session,’ said a deputy secretary of the commission.
He said, ‘Against this backdrop, the only option left for making the proposal into law is the promulgation of ordinance.’
The EC official said almost all the previous amendments to the RPO were enacted through promulgating ordinance.
When contacted, election commissioner Shah Nawaz said though the commission was yet to make its final decision on Article 90E, the law ministry is working with the proposals the EC sent earlier.
‘The RPO amendment proposals will be turned into law through promulgation of an ordinance,’ he said.
But Citizen for Good Governance secretary Badiul Alam Majumder said it would have been better if the amendments are made to the RPO through a discussion in parliament.
‘If the RPO is amendment through an ordinance, the people’s representatives would not be able to put forth their opinions on the matter. Even the commission did not consult the stakeholders before framing its RPO proposals,’ he said.
‘There should have been serious deliberations on RPO amendments by all the stakeholders including the political parties,’ he noted.
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