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SCBA urges EC to be neutral

  • Published at 12:20 pm November 26th, 2018
File photo of Bangladesh Election Commission office in Dhaka's Agargaon Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

It says the commission has violated the constitution by unilaterally deciding to use EVMs in the polls

The Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) has urged the Election Commission to remain impartial in organizing the 11th general election, slated for December 30.

In a letter signed by SCBA President Advocate Zainul Abedin and Secretary AM Mahbub Uddin Khokon, they on Monday also claimed that the commission was in breach of the constitution as it decided on its own to use electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the polls.

SCBA Vice-President Dr Md Golam Rahman Bhuiyan, Treasurer Nasreen Akhter and Executive Committee member Md Ahasan Ullah submitted the letter to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda at the commission office in Dhaka’s Agargaon in the afternoon.

In it, the BNP-majority lawyers’ organization also mentioned that the constitution was violated as it does not contain any provision regarding use of EVMs in the parliamentary election.

“Under the circumstances, we urge the Election Commission to play a neutral roll for the sake of the country and the people and withdraw its unilateral decision to use EVMs.”

SCBA leaders also said that the commission, since the election schedule was announced, has held meetings with different organizations, including the polling officials and law enforcement agencies.

However, they said, the commission during these meetings told election observers to stand in the polling centers like statues and instructed magistrates to not enter the centers without permission from the presiding officers.

SCBA alleged that journalist were even told to vacate the premises during the meeting with the magistrates.

Apart from a recent secret meeting of government and police officials at the Officers’ Club on Bailey Road, the law enforcement agencies were still arresting opposition leaders and activists and filing ghost cases against them even though the polls schedule was declared – which is the violation of a commission directive, said the pro-BNP lawyer leaders.

CEC Huda, however, has said that police were not doing anything by going outside their directives.

SCBA said that such incidents and contradictory remarks were creating confusion as to whether the polls would be free and fair.

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