In the Matter of G. Vishakan v. State of Kerala a petition from a journalist asking the State for temporary instructions to return his cell phone, which was taken by the police. The petitioner was a Senior Reporter for Mangalam Daily, Ujjaini, whose phone was reportedly taken by the police even though she had not been charged with a crime or was not a party to any criminal proceedings.
Conclusion of the Court
The Station House Officer was instructed to provide a statement detailing the circumstances surrounding the journalist’s mobile phone’s seizure, and Justice P.V. Kunhikrishnan of the Kerala High Court single judge bench made hints as to the steps to be complied with before seizing particular items if mobile phones were required by investigators in connection with a criminal proceeding.
The Court voiced its opinion and stated that the police should not take a journalist’s smartphone while breaking the terms of the 1973 Criminal Procedure Code. If mobile phones were required in connection with a criminal prosecution, the Court indicated that certain processes had to be followed before seizing particular devices. According to the Court, Journalists may be receiving a variety of information on their smartphones. However, journalists must choose which news to broadcast and print while taking the information they have received into account. The Court accepted that it is not journalism to broadcast all the facts, hearsay or not. Therefore, it is not possible to confiscate the journalist’s phone without following the procedure outlined in the CrPC only because the journalist had some knowledge of the crime.
The Court emphasised the claims that the journalist and even members of his family were subjected to harassment in the current case and ruled that it could not be tolerated. The Court additionally ordered the Station House Officer to submit a statement detailing the facts surrounding the seizure of the journalist’s smartphone.
CASE NAME – G. Vishakan v. State of Kerala, Civil Writ Petition No. 22328 of 2023