The court also issued a rule asking why the case filed under Section 57 even after the law was abolished through formation of Digital Security Act should not be declared illegal
The High Court has stayed the probe proceedings in a case filed under the Section 57 of Information, Communication, and Technology (ICT) Act against celebrated photographer Shahidul Alam.
The bench of Justices Sheikh Hassan Arif and Razik-Al-Jalil issued an interim order staying the continuation of the investigations for a period of three months in the said case on Thursday.
The court also issued a rule to show cause as to why the continuation of the investigation in the case filed on 6.8.18 under section 57 of the ICT Act 2006 (amended 2013), should not be declared to be without lawful authority and of no legal effect being ultra vires of the Digital Security Act 2018 and/or in violation of Articles 31, 35 and 39 of the Constitution.
During hearing, petitioners’ lawyer Advocate AF Hasan Ariff told the court that the case was filed under section 57 of the ICT Act against Shahidul illegally even though the section was abolished after formulation of the Digital Security Act.
He also prayed to the court to stay the investigation of the case.
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Attorney General Mahbubey Alam opposed the petition saying that the investigation against Shahidul cannot be disrupted until the lower court starts the trial proceedings of the case.
AF Hassan Ariff, senior advocate, appeared for Dr Shahidul Alam, assisted by Sara Hossain, advocate Asaduzzaman, Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, and Barrister Nabil Ahsan.
The attorney general appeared for the State assisted by Deputy Attorney General advocate Mokhlesur Rahman.
On March 3, Shahidul filed a writ petition challenging the legality of the case, in which he was imprisoned for 107 days.
In the petition, he sought stay on the proceedings saying that it was filed against him “in violation of his fundamental rights and by abusing the process.”
On August 5 last year, Shahidul, also the founder of Drik Gallery and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, was picked up from his Dhanmondi apartment during a widespread demonstration for safe roads.
Police lodged the case against the 63-year-old under section 57 of the ICT Act and produced him before a Dhaka court the following day.
On November 15 last year, the High Court granted bail to Shahidul, while he was released from Dhaka jail on November 20.