IHC admits petition against social media rules

Published December 19, 2020
Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Friday admitted the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) petition for regular hearing against the recently enforced social media rules. — File photo
Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Friday admitted the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) petition for regular hearing against the recently enforced social media rules. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Justice Athar Minallah on Friday admitted the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) petition for regular hearing against the recently enforced social media rules.

While the counsel for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Ahmar Bilal Soofi received the court notice after the very first hearing inside the courtroom, the deputy attorney general informed the court that the attorney general Khalid Jawed Khan will argue the case on the next date of hearing.

Subsequently, further hearing in this matter has been adjourned till Dec 25.

The petitioner, PFUJ secretary general Nasir Zaidi, cited Ministry of Information Technology secretary and Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) chairman as respondents.

According to the petition, the information secretary is responsible, under various provisions of the Pakistan Telecommunication (Re-organisation) Act, 1996, (PTRA) and the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act, 2016 (PECA), for issuing policy directives and directions as well as granting approvals to the PTA in relation to exercise of powers under PTRA 1996 and PECA 2016.

Implementation of ‘Removal and Blocking of Unlawful Online Content (Procedure, Oversight and Safeguards), Rules 2020’, the petition states, will inevitably lead to violation of rights to livelihood and freedom of trade and profession, guaranteed to the citizens under Articles 9 and 18 of the Constitution.

The rules violate general principles prescribed by constitutional courts for the exercise of rule-making powers and enactment of subordinate legislation by executive and regulatory authorities, it states, adding subject matter of the rules goes beyond the legal mandate given to the PTA and IT Ministry and is not in conformity with Section 37(2) of PECA 2016, under which rules have to be enacted for the specific purpose of providing safeguards, transparency and effective oversight mechanism for exercise of powers under Section 37(1).

Published in Dawn, December 19th, 2020

Opinion

On writing

On writing

There is no ceremony or ritual that marks any person as a writer except the simple yet unimaginably significant act of starting to write.

Editorial

A way forward
Updated 17 Jul, 2024

A way forward

Before political leaders inflict more damage, they must give talks a chance.
Export delusions
Updated 18 Jul, 2024

Export delusions

Plummeting exports as a ratio of GDP is one of the major reasons driving the current economic slowdown and the balance-of-payments crisis.
Diversity in UK politics
17 Jul, 2024

Diversity in UK politics

THE recent UK elections have ushered in the most diverse parliament in the nation’s history. Under the leadership...
Banning PTI
Updated 16 Jul, 2024

Banning PTI

It appears that the govt and its backers within the establishment have still not realised that they are in uncharted territory.
Nato at 75
16 Jul, 2024

Nato at 75

EMERGING from the ashes of World War II, and locked in confrontation with the Soviet-led Communist bloc for over ...
Non-stop massacres
16 Jul, 2024

Non-stop massacres

Netanyahu is cunningly pretending to talk peace while mercilessly pounding Gaza. What is clear is that a return to pre-Oct 7 status quo is impossible.