Kerala High Court Order : Mere possession of sexually explicit photos not punishable

New Delhi : Mere possession of sexually explicit photos will not amount to a crime under the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, the Kerala High Court has ruled.The court, while quashing criminal proceedings against a man and a woman, however, made it clear that publication or distribution of such photos is punishable under the law.

“If an adult person has a photograph of himself or herself in his or her possession which is sexually explicit in nature, the provisions of the Act 60 of 1986 will not apply, unless the prosecution has a case that those photographs were distributed or published for advertisement or for any other incidental purpose,” Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan said in a recent order.

The high court gave its verdict on a petition seeking to quash the proceedings against the man and the woman, pending before a magistrate court in Kollam.

The Kollam East Police had registered the case in 2008.

Police during a search operation at the transport bus stand in Kollam had checked the bags of the two persons, who were together, and found two cameras inside.

On inspection, it was found that they contained explicit pictures and videos of one of the persons.

They were arrested and the cameras were seized.

A case was registered and after investigation, a final report was put before a judicial magistrate in Kollam.

“In the case on hand, there is no case for the prosecution that the petitioners has advertised or circulated their private pictures found in the cameras which were in their possession,” the high court said.

“When the factual scenario is examined in the background of the legal principles as laid down by the apex court in the state of Haryana vs Bhajan Lal, the inevitable conclusion is that the criminal proceedings against the petitioners are nothing, but an abuse of the process of law,” it said.

Nun Rape Case: Bishop Moves Kerala HC for anticipatory bail

KERALA: The senior Catholic priest Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, Tuesday filed an anticipatory bail petition in the Kerala High Court. The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Jalandhar would be appearing before the police probe team on Wednesday.

Franco, 54, is accused of raping a Kottayam-based nun attached to the Missionaries of Jesus (MJ) congregation multiple times, between 2014 and 2016. The Kerala High Court adjourned the hearing of the application for September 25 when it will hear the police version.

Franco Mulakkal had written to Pope Francis requesting for permission to step down temporarily as the bishop or head of the Diocese of Jalandhar, saying he needs to spend more time to fight his case. Mulakkal filed the application this morning, claiming the allegations against him were a “cooked up story to wreak vengeance” and seeking pre-arrest bail.

The plea came up for the hearing before Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan. According to the Bishop’s petition, the allegations has claimed the accusations by the nun, serving in a congregation under the Jalandhar diocese cooked up only to wreak vengeance for the action taken against the nun on the basis of various complaints against her.

HC grants pre-arrest bail to actor-MP Suresh Gopi

 The Kerala High Court today granted anticipatory bail to actor and BJP MP Suresh Gopi in a case related to alleged forging of documents to get his two luxury cars registered in Puducherry to evade vehicle tax in the state.

Justice Raja Vijayaraghavan directed the Rajya Sabha MP to execute a bond of Rs 1 lakh along with two sureties of the like amount.

He also directed him to appear before the investigating officer on all Saturdays.

Gopi had filed the anticipatory bail plea on December 12.

Last week, the court had directed the police not to arrest Gopi for a further period of 10 days in the case.

The prosecution had alleged that Gopi was using the cars in the state after evading payment of tax.

Earlier, following the court direction, Gopi had appeared before police in connection with the probe.

The police had registered an FIR against the actor on December 5, charging him with falsifying and fabricating documents by showing an address in the Union territory and getting the vehicles registered there, causing revenue loss to the Kerala government.

The FIR is pending before the chief judicial magistrate court, Thiruvananthapuram.

In his plea, Gopi said the allegations prima facie were false.

The actor said he had chosen to register the two vehicles in Puducherry where he owns agricultural land which was being looked after by family members, including his brothers.

The actor said he has a house in Bengaluru and his brothers have residences in Coimbatore and Tuticorin, so the vehicles were frequently used to ply within these states.

Police have alleged that the actor-turned-politician used a fake residential address to register his luxury vehicles in Puducherry to evade the 20 per cent tax in Kerala on luxury cars costing Rs 20 lakh and above.