Voters’ roll update could be delayedTaib Ahmed
Uncertainty looms over whether the Election Commission will be able to begin door-to-door visits on March 10 for update of the electoral roll.
Failing to update the electoral rolls, the previous panel of election commissioners had left behind a roadmap for the task fixing tentatively March 10 to begin the update work.
The new election commissioners as well announced they would begin the work on March 10.
But now the Election Commission is saying the start of the update work might be delayed by a few days as certain ‘legal complexities’ had arisen.
‘According to the Electoral Rolls Act 2009, the EC should begin the task of electoral roll update on January 2 every year and complete the task by January 31. Under which law can we carry out the task now,’ election commissioner Mohammad Abdul Mobarak asked while talking to a group of newsmen at his office on Sunday.
He expressed displeasure that the just-retired election commissioners had failed to update the voters’ roll in last three years.
‘It was they who framed the law, but did not go by it,’ Mobarak said.
He said the commission could not begin updating the voters’ roll in March or anytime except January as long as Electoral Rolls Act 2009 remained in place. ‘We can only correct the list anytime,’ he added.
‘What will happen if someone files a case or writ against the update work,’ he asked.
Against this backdrop, he said, the commission was
planning to carry out the task in the name of correcting voters’ roll.
The commission will soon meet to work out the next course of action.
Asked whether the update work would begin on March 10, the date the commission announced earlier, the election commissioner said it might by delayed by a few days.
The previous commission could not update the electoral roll for three years although the Electoral Rolls Act 2009 stipulates that the commission should begin the task on January 2 every year.
The last commission, however, had proposed an amendment to the Electoral Rolls Act 2009 to revoke the provision for beginning voters’ roll update work on every January 2.
The commission stopped registering voters after the update of the electoral roll in July-November 2009. Since then, it only registered people who badly needed national identity cards as voters on special considerations.
An estimated 10 lakh people could not vote in elections to union councils and city and municipal corporations because of the commission’s failures to
update the roll. It is
estimated that the number of voters increases by
about 10 per cent every year.
After the first commission meeting on February 16, the chief election commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad said the update work of the electoral roll will begin with door-to-door visits on March 10, 2012.
The long overdue update work is scheduled to be carried out in four phases spanning over a year which would cost about Tk 90 crore.
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