Nov 19, 2015-
The Supreme Court has been asked to direct the government to rectify the Electronic Transactions Act of 2008 which “puts restriction on an individual’s right to expression against the new constitution”.
Advocate Pratyush Nath Uprety on Wednesday filed the appeal at the Supreme Court demanding to issue a writ of mandamus to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers so that the clauses 1 and 2 of article 47 in the Electronic Transactions Act are nullified. The article, he argues, curtails the fundamental rights, and can be use by the state to prosecute innocent citizens.
The article 47 states that a person displaying any material in the electronic media which “may be contrary to the public morality or decent behaviour, may spread hate or jealousy against anyone, or may jeopardise the harmonious relations among people shall be liable to the punishment with the fine not exceeding one hundred thousand rupees, or with the imprisonment not exceeding five years, or with both.”
In the writ petition, Uprety appeals that words and phrases in the Act like material, public morality, decent behaviour, hate and jealousy are not defined, and are open to interpretation. Further, the article is in contradiction with article 17 of the Constitution of Nepal 2015 which grants freedom of opinion and expression as a fundamental right along with nine other articles.
In the past, the government has been accused of misusing the Act to detain its critics and deter open criticism in social networking sites.
Source: The Kathmandu Post, November 19, 2015