Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Searching for MMS

Two of my friends recently returned from a jaunt in the Rajasthani Desert where they had gone to attend a friends marriage. Now that in itself does not warrant a post, but something strange they told me does. These guys were catching a train to Jodhpur from Bandra Terminus, and while they were trying to get into the place - it is incredibly difficult getting to large train stations at Bombay, which has a phlethora of large train stations - they were stopped by cops. Fair enough, in this country we are rather used to in your face security and don't question violations of our rights - now even though I was surprised to find out that it was the Mumbai Police not the RPF doing the checking over here - are they allowed to? But the second thing was rather peculiar, they asked one of my friends to show them his phone - he has a fancy new Nokia 6681 (the other friend has an ancient piece which the cops were not interested in) and they started searching his phone for porn. Now, there was no porn on this guys phone, and obviously nothing happened, but when I found out about this I asked my friend if the cops can do this? To the best of my knowledge without a warrant attested by a judge, the police can't search my personal belongings - unless of course, I'm travelling by air or even by train. But beyond the cursory check that my cell phone isn't going to blow a hole in the side of an Express Train, can the police go through the contents of my phone without the express permission of a judge? I don't think so. Has anything like this happened to someone else?

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I remember reading about an incident like this in Indiauncut where I think Amit had linked an article from Mid-day.

Anonymous said...

First, is it illegal to carry porn for personal viewing? I am no lawyer, but as far as I can recall, possession of pornography is not illegal under the Indian Penal Code, only distribution is. Besides, who decides what is pornography? A bikini clad woman might be offensive to someone while graphic intercourse might pass muster with someone else. As long as I am limiting it to my personal viewing I don't see why the police should have a problem with it.

K said...

Possession isn't illegal to the best of my knowledge but distribution is. However does the police, or any law enforcement agency have the authority to check through your personal belongings - unless you are at an airport? Isn't this a violation of my rights?

K said...

Thats what I'm asking essentially.

thalassa_mikra said...

I would certainly consider it a violation of rights, especially since this wasn't even a checkpost. I guess the police were just trying to make some money by blackmailing your friends, in case any porn was found on the cellphone.

Distribution of porn is a crime? How do they define porn?

K said...

T_M : That is what the second Anon comment points out. Over here I guess its the show of 'nipples' which defines porn.