A Kerala High Court Division Bench said it is not possible to register a crime against a person for using mobile phone
in the absence of a statutory provision to hold that it amounts to a dangerous act or affects public safety.
The police have been registering a case against the driver under section 118 (e) (knowingly does any act which causes danger to public or failure in public safety) of the Kerala Police Act for using mobile phone while driving.
A Division Bench comprising Justice A M Shaffique and Justice P Somarajan issued the order on the petition filed by M J Santhosh challenging the chargesheet for the offence.The prosecution case was that the petitioner was found driving a car through a public road in excessive speed and he was talking over the mobile phone. The incident occurred on April 26, 2017.
According to the petitioner, using mobile phone while driving will not fall within the mischief of Section 118 (e) of the Act. The single judge had referred the matter to a Division Bench stating use of mobile phone while driving a vehicle through a public road will also constitute the offence under the section.
However, the court ruled that the police can take action only if talking on phone endangers the public. It also observed that no provision in the Police Act has banned drivers from talking on mobile.
Talking over phone while driving, alone, cannot be considered a danger to the public, the court ruled.
The division bench heard the matter in the wake of previous instances where single bench judges have given different interpretations regarding Section 118 (e) of the Police Act.
Now, those who are facing such cases in the state can approach the magistrate court concerned to get it cancelled.