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Writ filed challenging legality of section 57 of ICT Act

21A writ petition was filed with the High Court on Wednesday challenging the legality of section 57 of the Information Communication Technology (Amendment) Act 2013.
Advocate Mohammad Shishir Monir filed the petition with the relevant section of the HC, demanding that section 57 of the Act be declared unconstitutional and illegal as it is conflicting with four articles of the constitution.
Talking to reporters after lodging the writ petition, Shishir Monir said the petition is expected to be brought before the HC bench of Justice Farah Mahbub and Justice Md Ijarul Haque Akand on Sunday next.
The Law Secretary and the ICT Secretary have been made respondents to the petition.
In the latest amendment to the ICT Act in 2013, the provision of punishment under section 57 has been increased to 14 years’ imprisonment instead of 10 years, and the crimes committed under the section have been made non-bailable.
Section 57 of the ICT (Amendment) Act, 2013 says if any person deliberately publishes any material in electronic form that causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person or causes to hurt religious belief, the offender will be punished for maximum 14 years and minimum 7 years imprisonment. It also suggested that the crime is non-bailable.
The petition challenging the section noted that the provisions there create conflict with articles 27, 31, 32 and 39 of the constitution.
All are equal to the law, said the petitioner, but the provision of 14 years’ imprisonment has been created for one who indicted under the ICT (Amendment) Act 2013, whereas the penalty will be two-five years’ imprisonment if the case is filed under the Pornography Control Act 2012.
If one faces a libel case for similar offences, there is a provision for six months’ imprisonment only, added the petitioner.
Meanwhile, Supreme Court lawyer Yunus Ali Akand on Wednesday issued a legal notice on the government demanding that sections 57 and 86 of the ICT (Amendment) Act 2013 be repealed.
Though all the citizens are equal, sections 57 and 86 creates discrimination, he said adding, section 86 of the Act provides scopes indemnity to government officials.
Yunus Ali sent the legal notice to the Cabinet Secretary, the Law Secretary, the Information Secretary and the ICT Secretary and asked them to repeal the controversial section in 24 hours, or else, he file a petition with the High Court under article 104 of the constitution.