It may be known today whether the controversial section 57 of the Infor-mation Communication Technology (ICT) Act is going to be repealed. The future of the section 57 will be determined after a meeting to be held today with a view to preparing the final draft of the Digital Security Act.
Sources said it is almost certain this section is going to be scrapped. The matters of digital crimes including the controversial section 57 may be removed from the ICT Act as the preparation is going on to formulate a new act named 'Digital Security Act'.
About the section 57, the Law Minister Anisul Haque said, "We told much earlier that this section would be scrapped. But there is a specific procedure for this. Analysis is needed in this regard. The matters will be discussed today in presence of the officials of the Cabinet Division, Prime Minister's Office, Information & Communication Techno-logy Division, Post & Tele-communications Ministry and representatives of the Home Ministry.
We can reach a decision at the meeting. We have to wait. Work is going on in this connection. Complexities may occur if something is done hurriedly." Sources said the office of Attorney General, Public Administration Ministry, Internal Resources Divi-sion, Defense Ministry, Public Safety Division, Bangladesh Telecommu-nication Regulatory Commission, National Board of Revenue, A2I project of Prime Minister's Office, Counter Terrorism & Transnational Crime (CTTC) Unit, Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Additional DIG of Police (ICT), Bangladesh Computer Council and Bangladesh Association of Software & Information Services (BASIS) have been requested to present at today's meeting.
To mention, the section 57 of ICT Act has come to discussion after filing several cases under this section. Four journalists of Dhaka, Khulna and Habiganj have become victims of cases filed under this section. Police recently arrested the executive editor of online newsportal 'notunsomoy.com' in a case under the section 57 over publishing report on products of Walton.
Later cases were filed against Jamuna TV journalist Nazmul Hossain and the senior reporter of Daily Sokaler Khobor Azmal Haque Helal. Against these cases, journalists have called a rally in front of the National Press Club on Tuesday next (July 11).
Earlier, a writ was submitted with the High Court on September 1, 2015 seeking the directives to cancel the section 57 of ICT Act. The High Court issued a rule for four weeks asking why the directive isn't given to scrap the section 57 of ICT Act after the preliminary hearing of the writ petition. The writ is currently waiting for the final hearing.
BASIS President Mostafa Jabbar told in this regard, "In fact, the agenda of the meeting is Digital Security Act to which the section 57 of the ICT Act is directly related as if there is no legal complexity, almost everything related to the digital crimes of the ICT Act are bringing to the Digital Security Act.
In that case, if the digital crimes are come under the purview of the Digital Security Act, the section 57 won't be needed. Decision will be taken in this regard at the meeting."