Poll code contradicts constitution, says Sakhawat

October 31, 2013

The Model election code of conduct is not supported by the Constitution, Representation of the People Order (RPO) and Rules of Business, which will be the main hurdle to implementation of the code, said former Election Commissioner Brigadier (Rtd) Sakhawat Hossain.
“Without amending the Constitution we cannot change the power and authority of the member of the cabinet or the advisers,” Shakhawat said. “The Rules of business cannot be nullified by the rule (code of conduct),” he added.
He said election is a system that was based on Constitution, RPO and “Election Code of Conduct for the candidates” and each and every section of these three books should be supplementary and supportive to each other but the EC’s draft is a contradictory one.
“How can the commission define the election days? When does it start the countdown to the election day? How does it define the pre-60 days of the election day? All these issues were ignored by the draft code of conduct and RPO” he said.
We know that the RPO is not everything, but my question is whether the commission has written anything about it to the cabinet secretary, he asked.
“The most vital thing is the RPO, Code of Conduct and the Constitution does discuss the character of the cabinet during the poll time, we don’t know what will be the characteristics of the cabinet during poll time,” he remarked.
However, the eminent lawyer Barrister Rafiqul Haq said, “It is very clear and specific that the Election Commission is the supreme authority during poll time and everything including the army will work as per directives by the commission so I do not feel anything wrong or contradictory here as Constitution says Election Commission is the sole agent to hold free, fair and inclusive election,” he said.

-Input from The Independent

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