As many as 10 Supreme Court lawyers on Tuesday filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking an immediate probe into leaked telephonic conversations.
A writ petition can be filled directly in a higher court in case of violation of fundamental rights enshrined under the Constitution.
Posts and Telecommunications department Secretary, Information and Communications department Secretary, Telecommunications and Information Technology Secretary, and Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission chairman have been made respondents to the petition.
Advocate Mohammad Shishir Monir submitted the petition in the High Court on behalf of the 10 apex court lawyers this morning. A division bench of Justices M Enayetur Rahim and Mustafizur Rahman will hear the petition as per the court's schedule.
UNB has learnt that the petitioners have 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 Barrister 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 Bangladeshi 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 have 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 5 crore.
The lawyers said it’s baffling how not a single case has been filed by the victims or the telecom regulators in this regard to date.