The High Court today summarily rejected a writ petition that challenged the legality of the much-talked-about Section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act.
The HC bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Kazi Md Ejarul Haque Akondo turned down the petition with some observations.
The court however did not mention the observations, saying that those will be disclosed in its full order.
The petitioners’ lawyer Shishir Manir told The Daily Star that they will appeal before the Supreme Court against the HC order after receiving full text of the judgement.
Zakir Hossain, an accused of a case filed under this section with the cyber crimes tribunal in Dhaka, on August 26 submitted the petition urging the HC to declare the section unconstitutional.
According to the section, if any person deliberately publishes or transmits false, obscene and derogatory information in a website or in any other electronic form, he or she will be sentenced to seven to 14 years' imprisonment and fined up to Tk one crore.
Soon after Hossain filed the petition, his lawyer told media that the section has clearly violated the constitutional provisions regarding equality before law, right to protection of law, protection of life and personal liberty, and freedom of thought, conscience and free speech.
During the hearing, Attorney General Mahbubey Alam opposed the petition, saying that the section 57 was included in the ICT act in consistence with relevant provisions of the constitution. And the section did not violet any provision of the conditional, he added.
Earlier on Tuesday, another HC bench of Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury and Justice Md Ashraful Kamal, in response to a petition, issued a rule upon the government to explain why the section 57 of the ICT act should not be declared unconstitutional.
Though rights activists have been critical about Section 57 from the beginning, the debate over it and demand for its repeal intensified following the arrest of journalist Probir Sikdar.