May 24, 2013 | 02:14 AM (BD Time)
24 May, 2013 Friday
HC asks why a RPO section not illegal
. bdnews24.com, Dhaka
The High Court wants to know why a section of the Representation of People Order (RPO), going by which candidacy of Tangail MP Abul Kashem was cancelled and BNP candidate Mahmudul Hasan was declared the winner, should not be declared to be contrary to the Constitution.
The bench of Justices A H M Shamsuddin Chowdhury and Jahangir Hossain issued the rule on Tuesday following a writ petition filed by 25 voters of the Tangail-5 constituency.
The court ordered the Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission Secretary and Mahmudul Hasan, who had been declared winner of the Dec 29 2008polls, to respond within 12 days.
The candidature of Kashem, a candidate of ruling Awami League's key ally Jatiya Party in the ninth parliament elections, had been cancelled in line with the Section 51 (2) (B).
Yusuf Hossain Humayun and Mohammad Bakir Uddin Bhuiyan represented the petitioners while Deputy Attorney General A B M Altaf Hossain and Assistant Attorney General Yadia Zaman argued for the government at the hearing.
"The court expressed the hope that Mahmudul Hasan will not be sworn in before the hearing on the rule is finished," Zaman told bdnews24.com on Wednesday.
Bhuiyan said the Election Commission, with the authority given by the Section, had declared Hasan, who got second highest votes, the winner.
"We have said in the writ petition that the Commission can hold the election again if the candidacy of the winner is cancelled so that the people of the constituency can elect a new representative," he said.
"People's representation cannot be secured if anyone who got fewer votes is declared the winner. It runs contrary to the Sections 7 and 11 of the Constitution," he added.
The High Court also asked why the gazette declaring Mahmudul the winner should not be declared unconstitutional, Bhuiyan said. Kashem had polled 147,152 votes to Hasan's 72,805 votes.
Hasan had moved the High Court in 2009 contending that Kashem had defaulted on payments of Sonali Bank loan and had outstanding phone bills.
The High Court on Dec 15, 2009 ordered the EC to cancel Kashem's candidature and declare Hasan the winner. On Feb 14 this year, a three-judge bench led by Chief Justice Mohammad Muzammal Hossain rejected an appeal of Kashem and ordered that Hasan be declared winner in a week.
The Election Commission issued the gazette in this regard on May 7 after getting a copy of the High Court order on Apr 29.
The Speaker of Parliament, however, did not administer the oath of Hasan and preferred waiting for a verdict on a petition filed by Kashem to review the previous order.
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