EC to take action against 133 officials including Returning Officer-ADC

Gaibandha-5 by-election

Publish: 7:21 PM, December 1, 2022 | Update: 3:26:PM, December 3, 2022
CEC observing Gaibandha-5 by-polls through CCTV. Photo: collected

The Election Commission (EC) decided to punish 133 people, including returning officer, additional district commissioner, magistrate and sub-inspector of police, for irregularities in the Gaibandha-5 by-polls. The Election Officials can punish these people for different periods, including discharging them, in accordance with the special law.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal told this in a press conference at the election building on Thursday (December 1).

He said the appointing authority shall inform EC within one month after implementing the penalty decision against the officials who have come in charge of election from agencies or governmental departments except the returning officers.

“Those who were involved in irregularities during performing their duties as agents of the candidates, should be identified and actions should be taken,” said the CEC.

At the time CEC presented the written decision of the commission to the journalists that states-

01. The investigation revealed that the Presiding Officers of 125 centres were found negligent during performing their duties. The list of names of those officers will be forwarded by the Secretary of Election Commission Secretariat to their self-regulating/appointing authority as per Section 5 of the Election Officers (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The responsible authority shall inform the Commission within a month of taking action against them as per the employment rules for negligence or misconduct.

02. The presiding officer of centre number 94 Md. Saiful Islam, lecturer of Udayan Degree College, has been decided to suspend from service for two months as per Section 5(3) of the Election Officers (Special Provisions) Act, 1991. The responsible authority will execute this decision. The Secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat will issue a letter to the appointing authority to take departmental action against him for misconduct and will inform the Commission within a month.

03. Similarly the Election Commission Secretariat will issue a letter to the appointing authority to take departmental action against the police officers of Center No. 2 (Sub-inspector Tarun Kumar, Gobindganj Police Station), Centre No. 54 (Sub-inspector Md. Abdullah Al Mamun, Gobindganj Police Station), Centre No. 59 (Sub-inspector Md. Anichur Rahman, Gobindganj Police Station), Centre No. 62 (Sub-inspector Kanak Ranjan Burman, Sadulyapur Police Station) and Center No. 105 (Assistant Sub-inspector Md. Dulal Hossain, Atwari Police Station, Panchagarh) for negligence or misconduct in duties as per Section 5 of the Election Officers (Special Provisions) Act, 1991 and per the employment rules. The authority shall inform the Commission within one month of the action taken against them.

04. The Secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat shall issue a letter to the Ministry of Public Administration to inform the Election Commission within one month of taking action against the Additional Deputy Commissioner (General) Sushant Kumar Saha for misconduct under Section 5 of the Election Officers (Special Provisions) Act, 1991.

05. The Election Commission Secretariat will issue a warning letter to the Assistant Commissioner (name not mentioned in the inquiry report) knowing his name for following the illegal orders of the higher authorities.

06. Secretary of the Election Commission Secretariat shall take departmental action against Returning Officer Saiful Islam (Regional Election Officer, Rajshahi) for negligence in duty as per Section 5 of Election Officer (Special Provision) Act, 1991.

07. The Commission will take action against the authority as per Section 5 of Election Officer (Special Provision) Act, 1991, if the authority does not take action and inform the Commission within one month.

08. The list of Election Agents officiating at all centres is in a bag sealed by the Presiding Officer. Since the election has been terminated and there is no court injunction on the matter, the centres whose allegations have been proved must open their bags and prepare a list of responsible agents. The District Election Officer of Gaibandha will make the list. Convicted election agents won’t be appointed in following elections.

09. In case of any irregularities in future elections, strictest action will be taken against those responsible.

To note, the CEC first announced the termination of 50 centres after observing widespread irregularities through CCTV footage in the Gaibandha-5 by-polls held on October 12. Following that the Returning Officer also declared a centre closed. Later, the EC stopped the entire election as there was no justification for the polling.

Afterwards, the formed Inquiry Committee found widespread irregularities in those 51 centres after hearing 685 people. Besides, the EC also found irregularities after checking the CCTV footage of the remaining centres.