The Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs has finalised the much-talked-about bill "Appointment of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners", proposing two changes in the required eligibility of the commissioners.
The initial bill said people having at least 20 years of work experience in important government, semi-government, private, or judicial posts would be considered eligible for the posts of chief election commissioner and election commissioners.
"Now, we have included the people who worked in autonomous organisations and from other professions," said Md Shahiduzzaman Sarkar, president of the standing committee, after their meeting on the bill on Monday.
Besides, the initial edition proposed that those who had been convicted of a criminal offence involving moral turpitude and sentenced to at least two-years imprisonment would not be eligible for the posts of chief election commissioner and election commissioners.
"Here, we removed the words 'two-year' so that no convict, sentenced for any term of imprisonment, can be eligible," he told journalists.
The amended bill would be placed in the parliament tomorrow (Wednesday), added Shahiduzzaman.
Earlier, Law Minister Anisul Huq placed the draft law in parliament on Sunday and it was sent to the committee for further examination, after discussion.
The law is being enacted within a short time as the government wants to have such a law in compliance with the constitution to form the next election commission. The tenure of the existing commission will end on 14 February.
On the search committee issue, Shahiduzzaman Sarkar said, the previous two search committees for forming election commissions were being legalised through the proposed Act, as the president appointed the committees on "consensus".
It is necessary to consult with political parties, civil society and verify public opinion before enacting such a law, said former election commissioner M Sakhawat Hossain.
"A law is a permanent thing. Enacting it in such a hurry, without talking to anyone, may leave a flaw," he added.
He further said the way it is being passed will not reflect the hopes and aspirations of the people.
"Political groups have called for the law to be enacted to strengthen the election commission. But their expectations will not be met," said the former commissioner, adding that there are many steps required to make a law that are not being followed in this case.
"The law also lacks transparency, many of the parts are vague. I think this is going to be a flawed law," said Sakhawat Hossain.
In the past, the president appointed the last two election commissions, headed by Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmed and KM Nurul Huda, through search committees, following dialogues with political parties.