Cabinet clears RPO changes
Ceiling of election expenditure raised to Tk25 lakh, party can receive donation of Tk 25,00,000 from individual and Tk. 50,00,000 from organisationMustafizur Rahman and Taib Ahmed
The cabinet on Monday approved the draft of Representation of the People (Amendment) Bill, 2013 turning down many of the proposals, including operation of mobile court against electoral offences.
The weekly cabinet meeting chaired by prime minister Sheikh Hasina at the secretariat, however, kept some of EC’s proposals, including raising of ceiling of election expenditure intact.
‘The draft raises the ceiling of election expenditures for each candidate from Tk15 lakh to Tk25 lakh… An individual will be allowed to donate Tk25 lakh instead of Tk10 lakh to a political party while an organisation is allowed to donate up to Tk50 lakh instead of Tk25 lakh,’ cabinet secretary Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told a press briefing.
He said the cabinet had given the final approval to the draft subject to the law ministry’s vetting. The draft bill is likely to be placed in parliament in the current session for passage.
The proposed amendments have kept provisions, among others, for barring those convicted of crimes under the International Crimes (Tribunal) Act 1973 from contesting the polls.
The Election Commission on July 25 sent a set of final proposals to the law ministry for amendments to the Representation of the People Order 1972, the primary electoral law, and the cabinet has kept some of EC’s proposals intact.
The commission had proposed to reduce the punishment for electoral offences from maximum seven years of rigorous imprisonment to five years ostensibly to employ mobile court by executive magistrates during the polling under the Mobile Court Act 2009 but the cabinet did not approve the proposal, according to officials.
The commission had also proposed in vain an amendment to the definition of ‘office of profit’ in the RPO.
According to the existing provision, ‘office of profit’ means holding an office, post or position in the full-time service of the republic or any statutory public authority or company in which the government has more than 50 per cent share, but the EC had proposed to drop the word ‘full-time’ from the existing provision.
The cabinet also did not approve the EC’s proposal to change the criteria for being eligible to contest the polls.
RPO Article 12(1) stipulates that a person shall be disqualified for election as or for being, a member, if he (d) is a person who is convicted of an offence punishable under Article 73, 74, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84 and 86 and sentenced to imprisonment for a term of not less than two years, unless a period of five years has elapsed since the date of his release.
But the EC had proposed that a person should be disqualified for election as or for being, a member, ‘if he (d) is
a person who is convicted of an offence punishable under Article 73, 74, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86A and 86B and unless a period of two years has elapsed since the date of his conviction’, but the cabinet did not approve the amendment.
The commission had also proposed that a guarantor for a loanee should be ineligible to contest the polls ‘if the loan against which he has been the guarantor is not paid before seven days from the day of submission of nomination paper’, but the cabinet turned down the proposal.
The expenditure of the party chief for travelling to various constituencies other than his or her own constituency for the purpose of election campaign would be excluded, the cabinet secretary said.
The deposit of a candidate for a member of parliament has been increased to Tk20,000 from Tk10,000, he added.
The draft says, ‘The chairman or secretary or a person holding the same rank of a registered political party shall inform, by notice in writing signed by him and delivered, either by himself or by any other person authorised by him in this behalf on or before the withdrawal day, to the returning officer, about the nomination of a candidate, other candidate, if any, of that party shall cease to be a candidate.’
The draft also says a candidate must choose his polling agent from among the voters of the constituency concerned.
Backtracking on its position to keep control over appointment, promotion and transfer of government officials during the election time, the EC had only proposed, ‘When it appears necessary to transfer any employee of any department of the government or of any other organisation in the interest of fair election, the commission may request the authorities concerned [over] the matter in writing and such transfer shall have to be made effective as soon as possible on receipt of such request from the commission.’
When the EC had sent its RPO amendment proposals to the law ministry in May 2013, it had had proposed a provision that ‘from the date of dissolution of parliament and until the formation of a new one, the government shall not take any decision relating to appointment, transfer and posting of officials of all ministries and of offices subordinate thereto without consultation with the commission’. But the EC in its final proposal deleted the provision.
The commission finally dropped a decision to curtail its authority, by scrapping the Article 91E of the RPO, to cancel candidature of a candidate for breaching electoral code of conduct.
comments powered by Disqus
The Appellate Division will deliver today its verdict in the two appeal petitions against the life term sentence handed to Jamaat leader Abdul Quader Molla for his 1971 war crimes. On July 23, a five member Appellate Division bench ended hearing both the appeal petitions and reserved the... Full story
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party chairperson, Khaleda Zia, on Monday warned that the ruling party would find no way to escape if it did not amend the constitution and restore the provision for the election-time ‘non-party’ government. ‘There is still time,’ she said asking the Awami League-led government to... Full story
The Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday approved 11 charge-sheets against 25 people for the embezzlement of Tk 1,568.39 crore from Sonali Bank’s Ruposhi Bangla Hotel branch by Hallmark Group. The commission approved charges against 12 Hallmark Group executives and its associates including its... Full story
The cabinet on Monday approved a draft bill seeking to amend the Representation of the People Order stipulating a new provision to debar anyone convicted under the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act, 1973, from contesting parliamentary elections. Full story
The government on Monday decided to allow compressed natural gas refuelling stations open round the clock for nine days from October 11 on the occasion of Eid Ul Azha. ‘The CNG stations will be kept open round the clock in October 11-19,’ communications minister Obaidul Quader told... Full story
A journalist sustained severe injuries after jumping off the fourth floor hearing the news of her daughter’s death. Injured Naznin Akhtar, senior reporter of the daily Janakanta, was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital with head injuries. Special correspondent of Janakantha Uttam Chakrabartiy said journalist couple... Full story
Several people were killed and others injured when at least one gunman opened fire at the US Navy Yard in Washington DC on Monday, authorities said. One Navy official said that four people had died and eight others were injured, but other officials suggested caution over those numbers saying the situation was in flux. Full story
UN inspectors on Monday reported widespread use of chemical weapons in Syria as Britain, France and the United States launched a push for a tough Security Council resolution on the issue. The keenly-awaited inspectors’ report stated that there was clear evidence sarin killed hundreds of people in an... Full story
Dhaka is set to sign a major regional deal next month in Dhaka in an effort to boost trade through eliminating non-tariff barriers with fast booming economies of China, India, South Korea and two other nations, officials said Monday. The three countries along with Laos and Sri Lanka are members... Full story
The prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, reiterated her firm determination to build Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous country by overpowering poverty. ‘We don’t want to beg to anybody and we don’t want to move by begging. I believe that the nation which achieved... Full story
The chairman of UK All Parliament Group on Bangladesh, Anne Main, on Monday said that people in Bangladesh wanted elections and they should be given a fair chance to choose their government through the coming parliamentary elections. Full story
The Anti-Corruption Commission on Monday interrogated the suspected Detective Branch deputy commissioner Mollah Nazrul Islam for his alleged extortion of Tk 1 crore from a businessman threatening him of being killed in ‘crossfire.’ The commission deputy director Nasim Anower interrogated... Full story
State-run Power Development Board owes Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation approximately $3.28 million in compensation due to delays in receiving monthly furnace oil supplies mainly to feed privately owned rental power plants. BPC, in turn, owes the sum in demurrage to the furnace... Full story
At least eleven people were injured in an intra-party clash between the two groups of ruling Awami League at Bibir Pukur Par in Barisal on Monday. Witnesses said an activist and supporter of Hiron-group Mohiuddin Babul was physically assaulted by the supporters... Full story
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s son, Sajeeb Wazed Joy on Monday said that the Awami League would eliminate war criminals and their collaborators from the country. Addressing a gathering of Awami League activists at Bhasani Hall in Tangail, he said that Bangladesh Nationalist... Full story
War crimes investigator Shahjahan Kabir said on Monday that absconding Al-Badr chief executioner Md Ashrafuzzaman Khan had listed in his diary the names of the intellectuals who were eliminated towards the fag end of the Liberation War. Full story
For the first time America’s top beauty queen is a woman of Indian origin, and she is playing down racist tweets that say she looks like an Arab terrorist. The new Miss America is Nina Davuluri, a 24-year-old from the state of New York who wants to be a doctor. Full story
Almost 60 children were taken to hospital in eastern India after they were mistakenly instructed to swallow a hepatitis B vaccine instead of polio drops, officials said Monday. The children started vomiting and sweating after they were orally given hepatitis B vaccine, which is normally... Full story
Three teachers of Benapole High School were injured as a group of unruly students beat them up during the time of assembly on Monday. The injured were identified as headmaster Shaukat Ali and assistant teachers Abu Raihan and Nazrul Islam. They were rushed to a private clinic for treatment. Full story