The Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has criticised the draft law on Election Commission (EC) formation since it does not mandate potential commissioner candidates to be honest, transparent and credible.
The civil society organisation also expressed disappointment saying the draft law did not heed recommendations by civil society members and stakeholders, read a TIB press statement Thursday.
"As a result, the draft has failed to meet the constitutional spirit and people's expectations," it said.
Quoting media reports, TIB Executive Director Iftekharuzzaman said, "We are astonished to see the ongoing process to finalise a law, which carries serious constitutional importance and sensitivity, half-heartedly."
The draft obtained from reliable unofficial sources specifically mentions three sections on qualifications of election commissioners and the chief election commissioner, he said.
But, none of the sections include any instructions on assessing the commissioners' honesty, fairness, impartiality, objectivity, sincerity and credibility, said the TIB executive.
"No provision has been made for the inclusion of women members as well," Iftekharuzzaman added.
The TIB executive director continued, "Even the proposed criteria allow someone to become a commissioner even if he or she had been convicted of a criminal offence for less than two years."
Besides, he said there is no instruction on specifying the commissioners' non-partisanship i.e. political affiliation or involvement in defaulting and corruption etc.
"There is no specific provision for their removal, even in the case of serious inconsistencies, which is disappointing," he added.
Questioning what would be the criteria for eligibility of the two citizen representatives in the search committee, what would be the modus operandi of the committee, whether the names proposed by the committee would be published, the TIB executive director said, "According to the draft law, names of two candidates per vacancy in the search committee are to be submitted to the president, but no provision has been made to disclose those names before the appointment is finalised."
Iftekharuzzaman called for the law to be finalised after thorough scrutiny and analysis of the details based on the views of civil society and all stakeholders.
Otherwise, the benefits of this law will be elusive and its acceptability and effectiveness will not be assured, he said.