India May Send Rude Cell-Phone Users to Jail

A huge rise in mobile-phone usage has stoked an unacceptable surge in public rudeness, and the most annoying offenders should be sent to prison, according to India's upper house of parliament.

The country's 277 million mobile users "often create nuisance," the Committee on Petitions, an influential panel of the Rajya Sabha, parliament's upper house, decreed.

"They need to be educated where and how to use the device without annoying others," it added, while endorsing a call for draconian new laws to do just that.

The comments came in response to a petition filed by Gurjit Singh, a member of the public whose demands include making carrying cell phones at funerals and temples illegal and the installation of mobile-phone jammers on school buildings to stop students making calls.

Singh also wants phone companies to deploy equipment to disable cell phones on the roads to avoid traffic accidents, and is calling for a law under which civil servants could be imprisoned if they make personal calls on their handsets during office hours.

His final demand is that mobile phones fitted with cameras be outlawed "for the safety of women."

The measures may appear extreme but have already won significant backing, including from The Times of India, the country's most-read English-language newspaper.

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