SHUJAN-Citizens for Good Governance organised the discussion tiled 'Election Commission Act and Relevant Thoughts'.

In the event, a primary draft of the election commission act was proposed. The draft would be finalised with feedback from related professionals. After that, the draft would be placed before political parties, the election commission (EC) secretariat and the government.

Participating in the discussion, renowned lawyer Amirul Islam said that enactment of the act is a must to comply the constitution.

"We have to take the constitutional provisions into account while formulating the election commission act," he added.

Gonoshasthaya Kendra trustee Zafrullah Chowdhury said the constitution gets amended when there is a necessity. An election-time government cannot bring changes in only three months. For this, a national government can work out.

SHUJAN president M Hafizuddin Khan, while citing that the election system in the country was destroyed completely, said no election is held fairly now. Citizens had observed the poor performance of the two search committees. The existing EC cannot hold fair and credible elections. Voters are reluctant to cast their votes as they find this meaningless. A vibrant movement is necessary to push for the formulation of election commission reconstitution law.

SHUJAN secretary Badiul Alam Majumdar said formulation of a law to reconstitute the EC is a constitutional requirement. However, formulation of the law would not be enough. The law needs to be formulated on the basis of political consensus and for the interests of the citizen. He said, formation of a search committee is never done by non-partisan people. The committee finds the inefficient ones. The previous two commissions proved themselves failed.

Supreme Court lawyer Shahdeen Malik said, a system has been persisting here deceiving people by a search committee. The president has no rights to set up the search committee. The search committee is going to be formulated at the ruling incumbent’s will. The ruling incumbent fixes the list of new EC members. The previous two election commissions showed bad examples.

Dhaka University professor Asif Nazrul said a law is needed to constitute the election commission, but the reality has to be kept in mind.

Can that election commission arrange a fair election if the commission is formed even with Sakhawat Hossain and Badiul Alam Majumdar if the current government and the police force remain unchanged? he asked.

"What is the outcome if a strong election commission is formed and they cannot work? A huge change has to be brought about in the police force during the election period. Is that possible under the existing system?" Asif Nazrul asked further.

The DU professor said a change has to be carried out in the system of election-time government to hold a fair election, he said adding that may be the caretaker government, national government or others.

Former election commissioner M Sakhwat Hossain said they submitted a draft law for the recruitment of the election commission to the law ministry in 2011 when they were in charge of the election commission.

But later there were no discussion over it. The major political parties also do not discuss about this law. The current commission has only four months. But the law can be formulated within this time if it is wanted, Sakhawat added.

Former cabinet secretary Ali Imam Majumder said no commission can hold fair election if changes are not brought about in the election-time government.

As per the desire of the government, the names come in the recommendation of search committee, he said.

Former justice Abdul Matin said the search committee has become controversial.

Among others, photographer Shahidul Alam, journalist Ajoy Dasgupta, Communist Party leader Ruhin Hossain Prince, Brotee executive director Sharmin Murshid joined the discussion.

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