ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) On Friday, Justice Athar Minallah accepted the appeal for a routine hearing by the Pakistan Federal Federation of Journalists (PFUJ) against the newly imposed rules on social media.
While the court notice was issued by the counsel for Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) Ahmar Bilal Soofi after the very first hearing inside the courtroom, the deputy attorney general told the court that on the next hearing day, Attorney General Khalid Jawed Khan will argue the case.
Further hearings on this matter were eventually adjourned until December 25.
The complainant, PFUJ Secretary General Nasir Zaidi, referred to the respondents as the Secretary of the Ministry of Information Technology and the President of the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA).
According to the petition, under various sections of the Pakistan Telecommunications (Re-organisation) Act 1996 (PTRA) and the Prevention of Cyber Crimes Act 2016 (PECA), the information secretary is responsible for providing policy guidelines and directives and for granting PTA permissions in relation to the exercise of powers under PTRA 1996 and PECA 2016.
The petition states’ introduction of ‘Removal and Blocking of Illegal Internet Content (Procedure, Supervision and Safeguards), Rules 2020’ will eventually result in violations of the rights to livelihood and freedom of trade and occupation granted to people under Articles 9 and 18 of the Constitution
The rules contradict the general principles prescribed by constitutional courts for the exercise of regulatory powers and the enactment by executive and regulatory authorities of subordinate regulations, it says, adding that the subject-matter of the rules goes beyond the legal mandate granted to the PTA and IT Ministries and is not in accordance with Section 37(2) of PECA 2016, according to which the rules must be enacted for the PECA 2016 (1).