The standing committee on the law ministry has presented a report recommending two changes to the bill on the formation of the Election Commission in parliament.
Chairman of the committee Shahiduzzaman Sarker forwarded the report, including changes on the qualification and disqualification of the election commissioners on Wednesday, reports bdnews24.com.
Law Minister Anisul Huq introduced the Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioner Appointment Bill 2022 in parliament on Jan 23. It was forwarded to the committee for scrutiny afterwards, with a deadline to report back in seven days.
The law stipulates that the law minister can now table the bill at any time in the parliament for approval.
Lawmakers will then evaluate public opinions on it, forward it to the selection committee and ask for amendments before it is once again discussed in the parliament later.
The parliament can pass the draft law with the changes recommended by the standing committee or as it is decided by the members. Usually, the parliament gives a nod to the recommendations placed by the committee.
The bill says an individual must have at least 20 years of work experience in any important government, judicial, semi-government or private job to be recommended as an election commissioner or the chief election commissioner.
The committee suggested adding “autonomous and other jobs” to the provision.
The bill also says a person will be disqualified from the post if they are convicted of a criminal offence and sentenced to at least two years in prison.
The standing committee suggested considering any criminal offence for moral turpitude and any jail term as punishment, instead of the minimum two-year sentence, as a disqualification.
The search committee used to form the outgoing and the last commission will be legalised through the proposed new law.
Shahiduzzaman said the inclusion of such a provision does not aim to indemnify the work of the search committee and the commission.
“It’s all about providing legal cover to the search panel, formed by the country’s president on the basis of a consensus. It does not provide impunity,” he said.
The bill also includes a provision on keeping the search committee option open to form the commission in future.
The tenure of the current Election Commission, led by CEC KM Nurul Huda, will expire on Feb 14.
The committee has only four weeks in hand to issue a gazette after passing the bill.
The cabinet, led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, approved the draft on Jan 22 amid political parties’ talks with President Abdul Hamid on EC formation.