In a path-breaking judgment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday asked all states and union territories to upload FIRs (the first information report) on their respective police websites within 24 hours of their registration at the police stations.
States located in difficult terrain with poor Internet connectivity have been given relaxation to do so within 72 hours. The decision could bring transparency in police functioning across the board.
The bench comprising justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan, however, exempted the police from uploading FIRs on websites if the offences were sensitive in nature and pertained to insurgency, terrorism and sexual cases, including those lodged under the POCSO Act.
The verdict came on a PIL filed by the Youth Lawyers Association of India which had referred to an order passed by the Delhi High Court asking the city police to upload the FIRs on its website within 24 hours of being registered. The lawyers’ body had sought pan-India implementation of the Delhi High Court verdict which was allowed by the apex court with certain modifications.
The Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan, however, made it clear that the accused cannot obtain benefit from courts if the FIRs against them had not been uploaded on time.
The petitioners averred that the FIR is a public document; however, it is not an easy task for the general public to obtain a copy of FIR from the police and hence it would be in the larger public interest if the FIRs are put on the website, as it would avoid many difficulties faced by the general public.
The court also said a decision not to upload an FIR on the website shall not be taken by an officer below the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police or any person holding equivalent post.
The directions for uploading of FIR on the website shall be given effect from November 15 this year.
In case a copy of the FIR is not provided on the ground of sensitive nature of the case, a person grieved by this, after disclosing his identity, can submit a representation to the Superintendent of Police or any person holding the equivalent post in the state, it said.