POLITICAL PARTY FORMATION

Published By The Daily Star on January 08, 2011 (Link Above)

This week Your Advocate is Barrister Omar Khan Joy, Advocate, Supreme Court of Bangladesh. He is the head of the chambers of a renowned law firm, namely, ‘Legal Counsel’, which has expertise mainly in commercial law, corporate law, family law, employment and labor law, land law, banking law, constitutional law, criminal law, IPR and in conducting litigations before courts of different hierarchies. Our civil and criminal law experts from reputed law chambers will provide the legal summary advice.


Query

Sir, I want to know the legal procedure to form a new party. Please give me sufficient information in this respect. Side by side, also mention which authority gives the approval to establish a new political party.
Reader,
New Eskaton, Dhaka

Response
I would like to thank you very much for asking me to provide legal opinion regarding the legal procedure related to the formation of a political party. The Constitution of Bangladesh has defined a political party a group of persons operating under a distinctive name for engaging in political activity or to propagate a political opinion within or outside the Parliament. As far as the legal procedure to form a new political party is concerned, it is necessary to register with the Election Commission (EC). The Representation of the People Order (Amendment) Act, 2009 and the Political Parties Registration Rules 2008 contain relevant provisions in this regard. Formation of a political party is now more systematic than ever before.

Chapter VIA of the 2009 Act deals with the registration of the political parties with the EC. However, the political party willing to be registered must fulfill few conditions in order to apply for registration. These include: it has to establish a functional central office along with a central committee. There has to be District offices in at least in one-third administrative Districts and offices in at least one hundred Upazilas or Metropolitan Thana having a minimum number of two hundred voters as its members in each of them. Besides, the constitution of the party must contain specific provisions related to some matters. For instance: to elect the members of the committees at all levels including the central committee, to reserve at least 33% positions for women in all committee including the central committee to be achieved by the year 2020, to prohibit formation of any organization or body as its affiliated or associated body comprising of teachers, students, employees, labourers or members of any other profession and to finalize nomination of candidate by central parliamentary Board of the party. The nomination has to be finalized in consideration of panels prepared by members at the grass root level of the concerned constituency. However, a political party may be disqualified from being registered if its constitution contains anything discriminatory or its objective is contrary to that of the constitution of Bangladesh etc.

The EC shall register a political party if the aforesaid conditions have been fulfilled and issue a registration certificate in the prescribed form and publish it in the Official Gazette. Where the application has been rejected, the EC shall inform the concerned party in writing within seven working days.

As far as the application process is concerned, the Political Parties Registration Rules 2008 contains provisions supplementing the provisions of chapter VIA of the 2009 Act. Accordingly, the EC may call for applications for registration of political parties willing to take part in the polls at times. The application must be signed by the Chairman or General Secretary or anyone equivalent thereof. It has to be made in prescribed form with the payment of prescribed fee. The documents attested by the General Secretary to be attached with the application are: constitution of the party, election manifesto (if any), Rules (if any), Logo and flag, List of the names of the members of the Central Executive Committee or any equivalent committee, the number of the Bank account in the name of the party along with the name of the Bank and the updated statement, source of the fund, document conveying power on the applicant to make application, copy of the receipt confirming payment of fee, and documents supporting the existence of an active Central Committee, Central office, effective District offices with at least ten District committees, offices in at least fifty Upazilas or in Metropolitan Thanas.

After the filing of the application, the EC shall verify the information contained in the application along with the documents attached. On the contrary, the EC shall allocate fifteen days to correct the error and produce the concerned documents. Prior to registration, the EC shall publish notice in two national dailies seeking opposition to the registration within the stipulated time. In case of objection, the EC will hear both the parties to decide as to the acceptance and rejection of the application.

Considering your second query, it may be opined that the EC is the authority to give approval to the floating of new political parties. It becomes evident as the provisions of the Representation of the People Order (Amendment) Act, 2009 and the Political Parties Registration Rules 2008 dealing with the registration of the political parties and the application process vest all the functions upon the Commission i.e. the EC.

I hope that the aforesaid analysis shall help you to take further steps incidental to your queries.

For detailed query contact: omar@legalcounselbd.com