The High Court on Wednesday rejected a writ petition seeking necessary directives to stop recording personal phone calls and launch a probe into leaked telephone conversations.
A division bench of Justices M Enayetur Rahim and Md Mostafizur Rahman dismissed the petition.
Advocate Mohamad Shishir Monir appeared for the petitioner while Attorney General AM Amin Uddin and advocate Khandaker Reza-e-Rakib represented the state and the Bangladesh Telecommunication and Regulatory Commission (BTRC), respectively.
Mohamad Shishir Monir told the media that details regarding the ground on which the High Court rejected the petition could not be known immediately as its full text was not released yet.
On 10 August, a group of 10 Supreme Court lawyers filed a writ petition in the High Court seeking an investigation into leaked telephone conversations.
The secretaries of the Post and Telecommunications Division, Information and Communications Technology Division, and the BTRC chairman were made respondents to the petition.
The petitioners cited 20 high-profile instances of leaked telephone conversations between 2013 and 2021 in their plea.
Conversations between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the then opposition leader Khaleda Zia, between Awami League General Secretary Obaidul Quader and BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, between 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 Bangladesh Constitution and it is a fundamental right of the citizens, said the Supreme Court lawyers.
Besides, Section 30 (f) of the Telecommunications Regulation Act, 2001, ensures privacy of phone conversations, they 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 Tk5 crore.