THERE IS NO MANDATE THAT AN OFFICER HAVING SUBSCRIBED TO A MOBILE NUMBER CARRIES THE NUMBER WHEREVER HE GOES : KERALA HIGH COURT
The High Court of Kerala passed a judgment on 3 February, 2023,stating there is no mandate that an officer having subscribed to a mobile number carries the number wherever he goes. It was stated in the case of Rahul vs State Of Kerala (Crl.M.C.No.9401 of 2022) which was passed by the single judge bench comprising of JUSTICE V.G.ARUN
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The case originated from a crime registered by the Kodakara Police Station against the petitioner and two others alleging commission of offences under Section 20(b)(ii)C, 25 and 29 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. The prosecution case is that, during patrol duty, the police apprehended the accused while they were travelling in an Toyota Innova Car from Nellayi to Chalakudy side. On searching the vehicle, 85.200 kgs. of dried ganja was found out and recovered.The trial of the sessions case commenced and has reached the defence evidence stage. Thereupon petitioner filed petition under Section 233 Cr.P.C. seeking to summon the call data records of the investigating officer, so as to ascertain the tower location of his mobile phones .The other documents, of which production was sought, are the GD maintained at the police station, Duty Note Book of certain officers and constables and the Thondi Register. By an order, the learned Sessions Judge allowed the petition in part by directing the SHO, Kodakara Police Station to produce GD, Duty Note Book and Thondi Register. The prayer for production of documents containing the call log and tower location of the investigating officer was rejected on the premise that the incident having occurred in the month of June, 2021, the tower locations and call log would not be available with the telecom operators. The court also held that, furnishing of such details may lead to disclosure of the identity of the informants of the crime. Aggrieved by the rejection, this Crl.M.C. is filed.
JUDGEMENT OF THE CASE
The court held that there is no requirement of producing the tower location details of mobile number asked for, since the investigating officer has stated that the said number does not belong to him. I also make it clear that, while seeking the production of tower location details of the other two numbers, the telecom service provider shall be directed to black out/mask all other details. Accordingly, the Crl.M.C is allowed as the impugned order to the extent it rejected the prayer for summoning the tower location details of mobile number is quashed. The court below is directed to summon the tower location details of mobile numbers; While producing the details, the Airtel Company shall be directed to black out the call details and produce only the tower location details.
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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ROSHNI SABU, KERALA LAW ACADEMY LAW COLLEGE.