HC issues rule why appointment of DCs, ROs not illegal

HC issues rule why appointment of DCs, ROs not illegal

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Dhaka, Dec 12 – The High Court (HC) yesterday issued a rule asking authorities concerned to explain why the appointment of divisional commissioners and deputy commissioners as returning officers by the Election Commission for the upcoming election should not be declared illegal and unconstitutional. The HC bench comprising Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir Liton came up with the rule after hearing a writ petition filed by Supreme Court lawyer Advocate Abdur Rahman challenging the legality of the EC’s decision.
The senior law secretary, the chief election commissioner, the public administration secretary and the EC secretary have been made respondents to reply to the rule within three weeks.
After the HC rule, Barrister Saqeb Mahbub, counsel petitioner, told reporters that the EC could not appoint DCs as the returning officers throughout the country as per the article 4 of the Representation of People Order (RPO). Rather it has the authority only to assign 689 of
its officials as returning officers, he said.
The appointment of the deputy commissioners and divisional commissioners as the ROs for holding the election is a violation of the RPO, he added.
On the other hand, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam told reporters that there is no legal bar for the DCs and divisional officers to discharge election duties as ROs following the HC rule as it did not pass any stay order in line with the petition.
Supreme Court lawyer Abdur Rahman challenged the EC’s decision on December 6 and filed a writ petition with the High Court.
The petition sought HC directive to replace divisional commissioners and DCs with the EC’s district election officials and appoint them as returning officers to ensure a free, fair and impartial election. The court, however, did not issue any directive. – Staff Reporter

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