Holding the municipality polls staggered for more than two months even in this time of pandemic demonstrates the Election Commission's sincerity for abiding by the legal obligation to discharge their duties on time.
Chief Election Commissioner KM Nurul Huda and four of his colleagues unquestionably deserve to be praised for not deviating from the legal obligation regarding holding the polls timely.
But their nonchalant attitude to widespread electoral anomalies in the battle of ballots has caused them to deviate from their constitutional responsibilities of ensuring that elections are free and fair.
Take note that an election is a process in which people vote to choose a person or group of people to hold official positions.
And it is the solemn constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission to ensure a free and fair atmosphere congenial for "little men" to enter the polling stations to exercise their franchise without any fear.
Constitution expert and former attorney general Mahmudul Islam, in his authoritative book "Constitutional Law of Bangladesh", writes about the importance of the functions of the EC.
"The Constitution does not envisage anything else than free and fair election and any law which stifles the hand of the Election Commission in ensuring free and fair polls will not pass the test of Constitutionality."
The Supreme Court in some verdicts have also focused on the significant role the EC has to play in holding the elections.
"We cannot but reiterate that if there was contemporaneous report of allegations about disturbance, rigging of ballot papers or election not being held justly, honestly and fairly, then after being satisfied about the correctness of the report or allegations Election Commission would be justified to cancel the result of the election and direct re-poll," observes the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court in Noor Hossain versus Nazrul Islam case.
The CEC Nurul Huda and his colleagues were passive in taking actions in light of the constitutional provisions to uphold the spirit of the high offices they are holding.
Instead, they are satisfied with the mode of the elections despite widespread incidents of electoral anomalies blemishing the fairness of the polls.
This is nothing new, in fact.
In recent history, the process of distortion of elections began during the tenure of the immediate past EC led by KaziRakibuddin Ahmed, a former civil servant along with his colleagues that had supervised the 2014 parliamentary election.
Held amid a boycott by the then main opposition BNP and some other parties, that election set an unprecedented record of uncontested seats. As many as 153 out of 300 MPs got elected uncontested without a single vote being cast.
Subsequent elections held to different local government bodies also recorded an increase in the number of uncontested elections.
Take the ZilaParishad election. Held in 2016, as many as 22 chairmen out of 61 were elected uncontested. The Union Parishad election held in the same year witnessed 220 chairmen elected uncontested.
Held under supervision of the current EC, the last parliamentary election in 2018 however, registered zero uncontested seats as the main opposition BNP and others joined the polls. But the election has been marred by alleged irregularities such as stuffing ballot boxes.
Elections to some city corporations including the one in Chattogram held in last January were marred by electoral anomalies thanks to inactions by the EC. Again, take note BNP joined all the city elections.
Broadly speaking, electoral democracy has been given two choices to follow in recent years: Either an increase in the number of uncontested elections or manipulation of voting by one-party to secure a win.
The choice of approach depends on the political stance of the opposition parties.
When the main opponent did not join the race, the election turned into uncontested in many constituencies-be it to parliamentary or local government bodies. The situation looked different in the presence of the main challenger in the electoral battle field.
The EC-led by KM Nurul Huda again deserves to be praised for facilitating the development of the two unwanted approaches of the elections. But its image is unappealing and the responsibility, though not fully, lies with it.
No matter how its image appears, the EC did not fail to hold a timely celebration of the National Voters' Day on Tuesday in a ceremony at its building in the capital and Huda called people to register themselves in the electoral roll and cast votes in elections.
Shakhawat Liton is the Deputy Executive Editor of The Business Standard.