The seat fell vacant after the death of Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury in March
The High Court (HC) has stayed the voting for the by-election to the Sylhet 3 constituency until August 5.
The bench of Justice M Enayetur Rahim gave the order on Monday after an initial hearing of a petition moved by six Supreme Court lawyers and seven voters of the parliamentary seat.
The lawyers for the petition are: Al Reza Mohammad Amir, Mujahidul Islam, Md Jahirul Islam, Mustafizur Rahman, Misbah Uddin, and Md Rahman.
Lawyer Md Shishir Monir stood for the petitioner while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and Deputy Attorney General Bipul Bagmar represented the state.
The petition – filed a day after a legal notice was served to Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) KM Nurul Huda in this regard – argued that holding the by-election on Wednesday is contradictory to the ongoing lockdown to stem the dramatic spread of the coronavirus.
It also said that the Election Commission (EC) has no constitutional obligation to hold the Sylhet-3 by-polls amid a pandemic.
As per the constitution of Bangladesh, "An election to fill the seat of a member of Parliament which falls vacant otherwise than by reason of the dissolution of Parliament shall be held within 90 days of the occurrence of the vacancy."
"Provided that in a case where, in the opinion of the Chief Election Commissioner, it is not possible, for reasons of an act of God, to hold such election within the period specified in this clause, such election shall be held within ninety days following next after the last day of such period."
Following the court order, lawyer Shishir said that the Covid situation in Sylhet has taken a turn for the worse. “The High Court, considering the argument presented by us, has postponed the Sylhet-3 by-election till August 5.
The deadline for the Sylhet-3 by-polls, as per the constitution, is September 7 this year, the lawyer added.
Meanwhile, speaking to an online newspaper, Humayun Kabir Khandaker, the commission’s secretary, said: “We have received an order from the court. The Sylhet-3 by-polls has been suspended until August 5.”
“The High Court order will be discussed in our next meeting. A decision regarding the new schedule will be made then,” the Election Commission secretary added.
The commission was forced to delay the by-polls multiple times due to the Covid-19 pandemipc. The election will now be delayed further with the fresh court order.
The Sylhet-3 constituency fell vacant after lawmaker Mahmud Us Samad Chowdhury died of from Covid on March 11.
Habibur Rahman Habib of Ruling Awami League, Mohammad Atiqur Rahman of Jatiya Party (JaPa), Junayed Mohammad Miah of Bangladesh Congress, and Shafi Ahmed Chowdhury, a BNP rebel candidate, are contesting in the by-polls.