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Unwanted calls a menace: HC

mumbai Updated: Jan 12, 2010 01:59 IST
HT Correspondent

Expressing displeasure over the nuisance of unsolicited calls and SMSes on cell phones, the Bombay High Court on Monday asked service provider Vodafone Essar to ensure that objectionable material is not offered to subscribers.

“It is high time that something is done to stop the menace,” Justice S.C. Dharmadhikari said while quashing criminal proceedings against Vodafone Essar.

The judge also wanted to know how personal information like mobile numbers was being passed on to marketing companies and other service providers.

The counsel for Vodafone assured the court that the company would consider ensuring that objectionable material is not offered to subscribers.

Assistant Public Prosecutor Alpa Jhaveri confirmed that the court has asked the company to exercise restraint on its marketing strategy.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Vodafone Essar seeking the quashing of a first information report (FIR) registered by the Goregaon police for the alleged outraging of the modesty of woman.

The FIR was lodged following a complaint by Goregaon resident Rujuta Tawade on July 28, 2009.

Tawade’s complaint alleged that Vodafone had set an obscene caller tune on her number without her knowledge.

The company withdrew the caller tune after the complainant’s husband, Rajendra, visited the Vodafone gallery in Goregaon and protested.

The mobile service provider had moved the high court seeking to quash the FIR saying the proceedings were ‘absurd and preposterous’.

Vodafone’s lawyers argued the complaint did not reveal any offence under section 509 of the Indian Penal Code (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman).

The company said the system of offering caller tunes and other promotional material

was automated and processed by specialised software and in such circumstances the intention as stipulated under section 509 cannot be attributed to anyone.

Justice Dharmadhikari quashed the criminal proceedings against the company but not before expressing displeasure over the menace of unsolicited calls and text messages.