“The mobile phone of the journalist shall not be seized by the police authorities in violation of the provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure. If the mobile phone is necessary, in connection with a criminal case, there are procedures to be followed before seizing those items,” the Kerala High Court observed on July 10 while hearing a journalist’s petition against the State police’s seizure of his mobile phone, according to a Livelaw report. The HC’s observation is a notable development as multiple petitions against search and seizure of electronic devices by the police are being dealt with by the Supreme Court (SC) of India. What’s the case about? The Kerala HC was hearing a petition filed by G. Visakhan, a senior journalist from ‘Mangalam Daily’, who alleged that the police officers conducted an illegal search at his house and also seized his mobile phone while investigating a case. He also stated that he is not party to the crime and no evidence against him has been found in the case involving the editor and publisher of the YouTube Channel Marunadan Malayali, Shajan Skaria. What did the Court say? According to the order reproduced by Livelaw, while stating that the police cannot seize the mobile phone of a journalist without adhering to set procedures, Judge P.V Kunhikrishnan observed that, “The Journalists are part of fourth state. The Journalist may be getting several information in their mobile phones…Simply because, the Journalist has got some information about the crime, the mobile phone cannot…
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