HC rejects plea for probe into leaked phone conversations

High CourtFile photo

The High Court on Wednesday rejected a writ petition seeking an immediate probe into leaked telephonic conversations, reports UNB.

The petition was dismissed by a division bench of justices M Enayetur Rahim and Md Mostafizur Rahman.

Lawyer Mohamamd Shishir Monir appeared for the petitioner while attorney general AM Amin Uddin and lawyer Khandaker Reza-e-Rakib represented the state and the Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC), respectively.

On 10 August, a group of 10 Supreme Court lawyers filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking an investigation into leaked telephonic conversations.

Posts and telecommunications department secretary, information and communications department secretary, telecommunications and information technology secretary, and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman were made respondents to the petition.

UNB has learnt that the petitioners cited 20 high-profile instances of leaked telephonic conversations between 2013 and 2021 in their petition.

Conversations between prime minister Sheikh Hasina and then opposition leader Begum Khaleda Zia, between general secretary of Awami League Obaidul Quader and BNP secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, between late senior lawyer Moudud Ahmed and assistant commissioner of Rajshahi Metropolitan Police Nazmul Hasan were some of the notable instances cited by the petitioners.

Privacy of personal communications has been guaranteed under Article 43 of the Bangladesh constitution and it is a fundamental right of the citizens, according to the Supreme Court lawyers.

Besides, Section 30 (f) of the Telecommunications Regulation Act, 2001, ensures privacy of phone conversations, they had pointed out. And according to Section 71 of the same act, "phone tapping is a punishable offence".

A person convicted of this crime can be sentenced to a maximum of two years in jail or fined Tk 50 million.