The Election Commission (EC) will decide soon about the fate of parliament membership of Abdul Latif Siddique after holding hearing of the both sides. After taking decision about the issue EC will send a letter to the Speaker of the Parliament.
The ruling Awami League and Latif Siddique on Sunday separately submitted their written statements to the EC in response to the letter issued by the commission.
Earlier, on September 28 in 2014, at a view-exchange meeting with expatriates from Tangail in New York, Latif Siddique made derogatory remarks about Hajj and Tablig Jamaat. His remarks triggered widespread criticisms both at home and abroad. Later, he was dropped from the cabinet and expelled from the Awami League also.
Meanwhile, Awami League General Secretary, Syed Ashraful Islam, in a letter on Sunday recommended that the commission should scrap the parliamentary membership of Latif Siddique as he is no longer a member of Awami League.
Earlier on the day, the EC received a letter from Latif Siddique, in which he requested the EC to refer the issue to the Speaker of the JS for taking decision on scrapping of his parliament seat.
The party's Deputy Office Secretary Mrinal Kanti Das and Sub-Committee Assistant Secretary ABM Reazul Karim Kawser delivered the letter to EC Secretary Md Sirazul Islam.
After handing over the letter to the EC, Mrinal told reporters, "Latif Sidique is no longer in Awami League. He lost that right to retain as an MP legally."
About the contents of the letter, Mrinal said, "The party has requested EC to cancel the parliament membership of Latif Siddique."
Mrinal also said the commission told them that it would hear from the party and Siddique within 15 days, according to law.
The letter said he was no more a member of Bangladesh Awami League.
It asked the EC to cancel his membership of Parliament from Tangail-4 seat in line with the Section 66 (4) of the Constitution, Section 12 (1) of the Representation of the People Order, 1972, and Section 178 of Parliament's Rules of Procedure.
In line with law, Siddique does not have the option to remain as an independent lawmaker after his expulsion from the party.
On the other hand, in his letter written on the letterhead of his parliamentary membership, Abdul Latif claimed that the AL has no authority to expel him from the party. Rather, he asked the EC to refer the issue to the speaker to take appropriate decision. "Awami League is making mistake", he said adding that the allegation against him of insulting religion is unfounded and baseless.
"Even if the allegation is considered true for the sake of argument, the AL's central committee does not preserve the authority to cancel the party membership because I spoke as a people's representative and there is no scope to think I spoke as an AL member."
The letter further said, "Expulsion decision is taken on the basis of a completely wrong explanation and it is also not possible to resolve with the Article 66(4) of the Constitution."
Earlier, following a written request from the AL, Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury on July 13 sent a letter to the commission to resolve the debate over the parliamentary membership of Latif Siddique as the ruling AL sacked him from the party.
The EC on July 15 sent letters to both Latif Siddique and Syed Ashraf to give their statements on the issue as per the section 4 of the Members of Parliament (Determination of Dispute) Act 1980 by August 2.
Election Commissioner Mohammad Shahnewaz told the Daily Observer, "The commission will now scrutinise the letters and take a decision whether it would organise a hearing or give its decision on the basis of precedence."
"The EC will issue a letter to the Parliament regarding its decision on the basis of which the Speaker will decide about the fate of Latif Siddique."