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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2588

Tele bugging challenged in Bangladesh

Dhaka, 19 May, (INS + Asiantribune.com): The High Court Division of the Supreme Court yesterday issued rule upon the government and others to show cause why the provisions of tele-tapping under the Telecommunication (Amendment ) Act 2006 should not be declared ultra vires of the constitution.

Justice Awlad Ali and Justice Jinat Are of the Court issued the rule on a writ petition filed jointly by Nurul Kabir, editor of the daily New Age and Dr Tasneem Siddiqui, treasurer of Odhikar, a human rights organization.

The petition was filed as a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the legality of the sections-97 (A), (B) and (C) of the amended law, empowering the government's agencies to record, prevent and collect information regarding communication made by the persons through telephone.

The rule was made returnable in three weeks.

The Secretaries of the ministries of Post and Telecommunications, Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Home and chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (BTRC) have been made respondents in the rule.

The government, on February 16, in a gazette notification made the Telecommunication Amendment Act, 2006, effective giving power to any of its agencies to record, prevent and collect information regarding communication made by any person through telephone, as the government states, for the security of the state and public tranquility.

The petitioners submitted in the writ petition that this act would be a new tool for the government to invade the privacy of the general people and it will be violation of the provisions of the constitution guarantying freedom of speech and right to privacy to the people.

"The government has enacted the law which would be used as a political weapon to harass its political opponent nevertheless general people. The government has taken all shorts of preparations to invade privacy by tele-tapping and thereby crossing the line of decency of human dignity. In a way the government is trying to manipulate state mechanism over others. These were the practices of military regime in the then Pakistan and during the martial law administrations in Bangladesh," they submitted.

Counsel for the writ petitioners - former attorney general AF Hasan Ariff submitted before the court that the section-97 (A) (B) and (C) of the Telecommunication Amendment Act-2006 is ultra vires to articles 39 and 43 of the Constitution that guarantying privacy of communication in as much as unbridled, unrestrained and unfettered and unguided discretionary authority has been conferred to undefined official.

Advocate Ashique-al Jalil and advocate Arafat Amin assisted advocate AF Hasan Ariff in moving the writ petition, while deputy attorney general (DAG) Abdul Baset stood for the state.

- INS + Asian Tribune -

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