Dhaka city polls on Jan 30 as scheduled after HC rejects writ petition

  • Court Correspondent, bdnews24.com
    Published: 2020-01-14 16:01:32 BdST

The Dhaka city elections are set to be held on Jan 30 after the High Court turned down a writ petition calling for the polls to be rescheduled to another date as it coincided with Saraswati Puja.

Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Md Khairul Alam issued the order on Tuesday.

The petitioner, lawyer Ashok Kumar Ghosh, presented his case while Towhidul Haque argued for the EC and Deputy Attorney General Noor Us Sadiq stood for the state.

According to the Bangladesh calendar, the Saraswati Puja is slated for Jan 29, citing which, the Puja Udjapon Parishad asked the Election Commission to reschedule the city elections.

But the court's decision on Tuesday means the polls will now go ahead as scheduled by the commission on Dec 22 last year.

The writ petition is dismissed because there is no scope of changing the date considering that the Saraswati Puja holiday falls on Jan 29 and the SSC exams start two days after Jan 30, the voting day set by the commission, the court said.

Petitioner Ghosh told the media that they were aggrieved by the verdict and would appeal against it.

Rana Dasgupta, the general secretary of Hindu, Buddhisht, Christian Unity Council, was also present among others during the hearing.

‘SACRED’

EC Secretary Md Alamgir, speaking to reporters at his office after the verdict, urged the leaders of the minority group to respect the judgment.

Md Alamgir

Md Alamgir

He claimed elections and puja can be organised together because both are “sacred tasks” citing that the Rangpur city polls were also held during the Durga Puja festival.

“There won’t be any problem this time too. The Puja will be held in a festive mood; the vote will also be held together,” he said.   

After the EC had announced the schedule, the Puja Udjapon Parishad asked the commission to change the date citing Saraswati Puja.

The Hindu, Buddhist, Christian Unity Council threw their support behind the demand later, but the EC refused to budge.

The two organisations submitted a memorandum to the EC on Jan 7 as well.

A group of Dhaka University students demonstrate blocking Shahbagh intersection on Tuesday demanding that the date for the city polls be changed for Saraswati Puja.

A group of Dhaka University students demonstrate blocking Shahbagh intersection on Tuesday demanding that the date for the city polls be changed for Saraswati Puja.

The Dhaka University’s Jagannath Hall, which is under the Dhaka South City Corporation and houses Hindu students, has sent a letter to the returning officer.

Dhaka University Central Students’ Union or DUCSU has also urged the EC to shift the vote.

Several institutions under Dhaka South and North city corporations organise Saraswati Puja and are also used as polling stations.

Lawyer Ghosh later moved the High Court seeking an order to change the polling day.

On Tuesday, a group of Dhaka University students demonstrated blocking Shahbagh intersection demanding that the EC review its decision on the voting day.