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Sunday, 25 September 2016

Controversial Sec. 57 of the ICT (Amendment) Act. 2013

Back in 2011 when i started blogging as a new by I posted many of the controversies and defects of the existing ICT Act. of Bangladesh. The Act was amended and many new terms and definitions were included along with the punishment for the crimes for keeping pace with the increased use of technology. Yet, the Act. is not free from controversies.
The Latest controversy arose when the Section 57 of the Act. was amended back in 2013. As to the section, if any person deliberately publishes any material in electronic form that causes to deteriorate law and order, prejudice the image of the state or person or causes to hurt religious belief, the offender will be punished for maximum 14 years and minimum 7 years imprisonment.

Furthermore, those crimes under Section 57 have been made non-bailable.

At that time though many challenged the decision through writ petition on High Court Division yet the Section remained in force. What the experts feared that is the truth now. Because, filing of cases under this Section increased by almost 200% in 2016 and most of the cases aren't being proved.

Since the crimes were made non-bailable, anyone out of outrage for personal harassment can easily use it against another. With the increased use of Social networking today, people often are seen to post on blogs and social networking sites about their personal thoughts and feelings. But because of the section many normal acts are also being treated as criminal act and can be brought before the Court.

Moreover they are being arrested and not being allowed to go on bail because of the amendment. Besides, the technology we have is not enough to deal with crimes committed under this Act and so people are being harassed for no reason and without committing any crime are kept in prison which is rude.

As we know, that an offence is committed when there is Actus-reus (Guilty act) and mens-reus (Guilty mind) but the the section has been controversial to this fundamental principle of law and justice.

In many cases it is conflicting with Articles 27, 31, 32 and 39 of The Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh.

The increase in cases under this section is just the beginning and we are yet to see many more if not amended any sooner. So it is best for the government to rethink about it and amend it to compensate the conflicts arose out of the last amendment.

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