The High Court of Bangladesh agreed to hear a plea seeking the return of the country to secularism, dropping Islam as the state religion.

The Constitution makers had proclaimed the country secular when it became an independent country in 1971.

However, the military government led by General HM Ershad turned the country into an Islamic state in 1988.

Citizen groups had started the legal process to name the Muslim majority country a secular sate back then.

In 2011, 'secularism' returned as one of the four fundamental principles of the state following the 15th amendment to the Constitution, but Islam was retained as the state religion.

A group of 12 citizens then filed a writ petition seeking to remove the contradiction. The High Court accepted the plea and decided to hear the case on March 27.

The proposal to declare the state secular comes in the backdrop of a recent surge in terror, including attacks on minorities, atheists and free thinkers.

"It will take long time to get any decision," Rana Dasgupta, a government prosecutor, told Reuters.

"The nature of the case is time-consuming. The High Court will continue to hear from both parties and then will deliver its verdict."