High Court issued a rule on EC and govt for not holding polls in 90 days
Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

The High Court on Sunday issued a rule on the Election Commission and the interim government, asking them to explain in four weeks why they would not be directed to hold the stalled parliamentary elections within the span of time mandated by the country’s constitution.

The High Court bench of Justice Shah Abu Nayeem Mominur Rahman and Justice Shahidul Islam also asked the EC and the government to explain why their failure to hold the ninth parliamentary polls within 90 days after dissolution of the parliament would not be declared unconstitutional. The court issued the rule after hearing a writ petition filed by Masood Reza Sobhan, a lawyer of the Supreme Court. Opposing the petition, additional attorney-general Salahuddin Ahmed told the court that the petition was not maintainable.

The same petitioner had filed a writ petition for allowing appointment of more advisers to the present interim government to run the ministries smoothly until an elected government takes over, said the state attorney, adding, ‘This court on January 6 summarily rejected the petition.’ ‘Now he has come up with a new petition claiming that it is a public-interest litigation writ petition for early parliamentary polls when the political parties are also making the same demand,’ argued Salahuddin, saying that the petition is politically motivated and conceived in connivance with the political parties.

‘The constitutional mandate is that the parliamentary polls will be held within 90 days after dissolution of the parliament. As the Election Commission has failed to hold the elections within the constitutional timeframe, it must come up with an explanation on the constitutionality of such a failure,’ the court told the state attorney. The court, on January 6, while rejecting Masood’s earlier petition had told him that he might come up with a new writ petition challenging the constitutionality of not holding the election in 90 days.

Masood on Thursday filed the new petition, seeking the court’s directive to the EC and the interim government to hold the elections in the next 90 days. During the hearing of the petition, the court, however, advised him to amend the petition to challenge the constitutionality of the EC’s failure to hold the election within the constitutional timeframe. Accordingly the petition was corrected and the court issued the rule.

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