The apex court also asked the HC bench led by Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury to hear and dispose of the rule by December 18
The Supreme Court has upheld a High Court order that stayed investigation of the case filed under the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act against renowned photographer Shahidul Alam.
The apex court also asked the HC bench led by Justice Moyeenul Islam Chowdhury to hear, and dispose of the rule by December 18.
A four-member bench of the Appellate Division of the apex court led by Chief Justice Syed Mahmud Hossain passed the order, after hearing a leave-to-appeal petition filed by the state challenging its earlier order.
Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the state, while Advocate AF Hasan Ariff, Advocate Syeda Rizwana Hasan, and Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua represented Shahidul Alam.
After the court order, Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua said: "By this order, the stay order on investigation of the case filed against Shahidul remains same."
The attorney general said: "We have filed a leave-petition against the High Court order on 4 April. The appellate division has disposed of the petition, and ordered the High Court bench to dispose of the issued rule within December 18."
Earlier on March 14, a High Court bench stayed the investigation into the case filed against Shahidul Alam under Section 57 of the ICT Act.
The HC bench also issued a rule asking the government why the continuation of probing the case should not be declared illegal, and contradictory to the Digital Security Act-2018 of the constitution.
On March 3, Shahidul Alam filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the case filed against him for “spreading disinformation.”
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He languished in jail without bail in the case, filed under section 57 of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Act, for 107 days. The ICT Act was replaced last year by a new law called the Digital Security Act.
Shahidul, also the founder of Drik Gallery and Pathshala South Asian Media Institute, was picked up on August 5 last year, from his Dhanmondi residence in Dhaka, during a major student demonstration for road safety. He was produced before a Dhaka court the following day, and placed on a seven-day remand.
Multiple media outlets reported, quoting Shahidul’s lawyer Barrister Sara Hossain, that Shahidul asked the court in his petition to halt the proceedings of the case, saying the case violated his fundamental rights, and is an example of abusing the relevant process of law.
A High Court division bench may hold a hearing on the petition next week, according to Sara Hossain.
Police charged him with “spreading propaganda, and false information against the government.”
His arrest and imprisonment sparked outrage and condemnation at home, and abroad.
The noted photographer obtained permanent bail from the High Court on November 15 last year.
He was released from Dhaka Central Jail on November 20.