Right to ask accused to surrender mobile phone not a Violation of Article 20(3): Kerala High Court 

Recently the Malayalam film industry suffered a shock when one of its most prominent actors was embroiled in a controversy surrounding an assault and abduction case. The matter is currently sub-judice before the Kerala High Court. In the latest updates, the accused was asked to submit his mobile phone, in a sealed cover, for another investigation of conspiracy to murdering top police officials was on against him. The matters were made worse when the accused refused to submit his personal mobile phone for forensic analysis.  

The advocates appearing for the accused argued that submission of mobile phone was violative  of Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution. The Article states; 

(3) No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.” 

However, quashing the argument the divisional bench of the Kerala High Court decided that the prosecution had the right to ask the accused to submit phone for forensic analysis. Such a right is not violative of Article 20(3).  

The court, after listening to both sides decided that this matter was no longer res integra and also used the judgment given by 11 judge bench in State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad (AIR 1962 SC 1809) which spoke about how impressions of the thumb, fingers, etc. or any other impressions such as handwriting samples did not amount to self-incriminating evidence.  

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