HC adjourns trial proceedings of the writ till Feb 17
Five of the six amici curiae (friends of court) have told the High Court (HC) that the writ seeking a ban on Al Jazeera and the removal of its report, "All the Prime Minister's Men", from virtual platforms is not acceptable.
The amici curiae – former attorney generals AJ Mohammad Ali and Fida M Kamal, and senior lawyers Kamal Ul Alam, Prabir Niyogi and Dr Shahdeen Malik – said that as the petitioner had not served any legal notice on the government asking for steps to be taken in this regard, the petition in question could not be accepted, according to media reports.
Meanwhile, Abdul Matin Khasru, the sixth amicus curiae, did not clearly speak on the relevance of the writ.
The amici curiae, during today’s hearing, gave their opinions on the legitimacy of the writ, jurisdiction of Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC), acts concerned, references and security of the state, among other issues.
After the hearing on the matter, the High Court division virtual bench comprising Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Md Kamrul Hossain Mollah adjourned the proceedings till February 17.
Earlier on February 10, the High Court had appointed senior lawyers AJ Mohammad Ali, Kamal Ul Alam, Abdul Matin Khasru, Fida M Kamal, Prabir Niyogi and Dr Shahdeen Malik as amici curiae in the case.
Supreme Court lawyer Md Enamul Kabir Emon filed the writ on February 8.
In the petition, the petitioner pleaded for the High Court’s directive on the authorities concerned on banning the telecasting of Al Jazeera programmes in the country and also seeking the court’s order to remove the contents of Al Jazeera’s report, entitled “All the Prime Minister’s Men”, from all social media, including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.
Officials concerned, including the post and telecommunications secretary, information secretary, home secretary, BTRC chairman and IGP were made respondents in the writ.
Al Jazeera telecast the report on February 1. The government dismissed the report, calling it “false and defamatory” and a desperate “smear campaign” instigated by extremists and their allies working in London and elsewhere.