We’ve all seen the safety signs on several roads and highways across India – clearly urging drivers not to talk on the mobile phone and drive.
On Wednesday, the Kerala High Court ruled that talking on a mobile phone while driving is not illegal. It ordered that the police cannot register a case against those who talk on the mobile phone while driving.
A Division Bench of the High Court said that the police can’t register case as there are no provisions in the law to book a person for this.
The police register a case as per 118 Section, 118(e) of Kerala Police Act. This section states that any person who knowingly does any act which causes danger to public or failure in public safety shall on conviction be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to three years or with a fine not exceeding Rs 10,000 or with both.
The Division Bench’s ruling was in response to a petition filed by MJ Santhosh, a native of Kakkanad in Ernakulam questioning the police for registering a case against him using the provisions of the Act.
The court said that police action is possible only if the Act of talking over phone causes danger to public. “Also, there is no provision in the police act that bans people from talking over the mobile phone while driving. Hence a person doing the act can’t be assumed as one who causes danger to the public," the court said.
Following the court order those who have been booked by the police for using mobile phones while driving can approach the magistrate courts concerned for cancelling the case.
The court also observed that if a case should be registered, the law should be amended and should be passed in the Legislative Assembly.