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September 11, 2016 – UPDATE


Supreme Court directed all States and Union Territories to upload the FIRs on their websites within 24 hours of registration at police stations.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan, however, extended the time up to 72 hours for uploading of the FIRs for those states which are located in difficult terrains where internet connectivity is poor.

The apex court exempted the state police authorities from uploading the FIRs on sensitive cases pertaining to insurgency and sexual offences against women and children.

For the complete Indian Express News article click here

In the below mentioned case (Youth Bar Association of India v. UOI and Anr.) by an order dated 07.09.2016, the Supreme Court of India has issued the following directions:

  1. An accused is entitled to get a copy of the First Information Report at an earlier stage than as prescribed under Section 207 of the Cr.P.C.

  2. An accused who has reasons to suspect that he has been roped in a criminal case and his name may be finding place in a First Information Report can submit an application through his representative/agent/parokar for grant of a certified copy before the concerned police officer or to the Superintendent of Police on payment of such fee which is payable for obtaining such a copy from the Court. On such application being made, the copy shall be supplied within twenty-four hours.

  3. Once the First Information Report is forwarded by the police station to the concerned Magistrate or any Special Judge, on an application being filed for certified copy on behalf of the accused, the same shall be given by the Court concerned within two working days. The aforesaid direction has nothing to do with the statutory mandate inhered under Section 207 of the Cr.P.C.

  4. The copies of the FIRs, unless the offence is sensitive in nature, like sexual offences, offences pertaining to insurgency, terrorism and of that category, offences under POCSO Act and such other offences, should be uploaded on the police website, and if there is no such website, on the official website of the State Government, within twenty-four hours of the registration of the First Information Report so that the accused or any person connected with the same can download the FIR and file appropriate application before the Court as per law for redressal of his grievances. It may be clarified here that in case there is a connectivity problem due to geographical location or there is some other unavoidable difficulty, the time can be extended up to forty-eight hours. The said 48 hours can be extended maximum up to 72 hours and it is only relatable to connectivity problems due to geographical location.

  5. The decision not to upload the copy of the 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. In case, the States where District Magistrate has a role, he may also assume the said authority. A decision taken by the concerned police officer or the District Magistrate shall be duly communicated to the concerned jurisdictional Magistrate.

  6. The word ‘sensitive’ apart from the other aspects which may be thought of being sensitive by the competent authority as stated hereinbefore would also include concept of privacy regard being had to the nature of the FIR. The examples given with regard to the sensitive cases are absolutely illustrative and are not exhaustive.

  7. If an FIR is not uploaded, needless to say, it shall not ensure per se a ground to obtain the benefit under Section 438 of the Cr.P.C.

  8. In case a copy of the FIR is not provided on the ground of sensitive nature of the case, a person grieved by the said action, after disclosing his identity, can submit a representation to the Superintendent of Police or any person holding the equivalent post in the State. The Superintendent of Police shall constitute a committee of three officers which shall deal with the said grievance. As far as the Metropolitan cities are concerned, where Commissioner is there, if a representation is submitted to the Commissioner of Police who shall constitute a committee of three officers. The committee so constituted shall deal with the grievance within three days from the date of receipt of the representation and communicate it to the grieved person.

  9. The competent authority referred to hereinabove shall constitute the committee, as directed herein-above, within eight weeks from today.

  10. In cases wherein decisions have been taken not to give copies of the FIR regard being had to the sensitive nature of the case, it will be open to the accused/his authorized representative/parokar to file an application for grant of certified copy before the Court to which the FIR has been sent and the same shall be provided in quite promptitude by the concerned Court not beyond three days of the submission of the application.

  11. The directions for uploading of FIR in the website of all the States shall be given effect from 15th November, 2016.

Copy of the order is available here :

May 23, 2016

As of today, there is no provision in any law in India which will make available a copy of the FIR to the accused. In many unfortunate circumstances the situation is that the Police Officials usually call the suspect/accused to the Police station and make them sit for hours on the pretence that there is a complaint against you, but seldom do they disclose the contents of the complaint or FIR. This leads to unnecessarily harassment of the public along with breading of corruption.

When an FIR is registered by the Police, the law provides under Section 154 of Cr.P.C, sub-section (2) that a copy of the FIR should be provided to the informant immediately after its registration. However, there is no provision which says that a copy of FIR should be provided to an accused after its registration.

Although Section 207 of Cr.P.C requires the concerned Magistrate to furnish a copy of the FIR to the accused but the provisions of Section 207 come into play only after the filing of charge-sheet under Section 173 Cr.P.C. Similarly, a combined reading of sub-sections (5) and (7) of Section 173 of the Cr.P.C. shows that after filing of the charge sheet, the police may also supply copy of the FIR to the accused person along with other papers of the charge sheet. However, both the provisions of Section 207 and Section 173 of the Cr.P.C. are attracted only after filing of the charge sheet by the police. There is no specific provision in the Cr.P.C. requiring supply of the FIR to the accused person before the filing of the charge sheet and after the registration of FIR.

Moreover, there are several judgments of various High Courts holding that FIR is a “public document” within the meaning of Section 74 of the Evidence Act. Therefore, as required under the provisions of Right to Information Act, a copy of the FIR has to be given to the accused person on his request on payment of the applicable legal fees by every public officer (such as the officer in charge of the police station) having the custody of such document. However, no decision of the Supreme Court is available on this issue.

But recently a PIL was filed by Youth Bar Association of India (YBAI) from Uttrakhand in which they have prayed for the following relief :

“a. To issue an appropriate writ in the nature of mandamus an order or direction directing the respondents to upload each and every ‘first information report’ lodged in all the police stations within the territory of India in the official website of the police of all states, as early as possible preferably within 24 hours from the time of lodging.”

The Supreme Court on Monday, May 2, 2016 issued notice to the central and all state governments on a PIL seeking direction that “each and every” FIR on the official website of police within 24 hours of its lodging. (read more)

The judgment in this case may become a landmark decision in the history of Rights of Accused as in an earlier decision also, the Supreme Court has accepted the fact that

“it is vitally necessary that an accused person should be granted a copy of the first information at the earliest possible state in order that he may get the benefit of legal advice.”

Moreover, if the copies of FIR are uploaded on the official websites then this will reduce corruption as well. Nowadays the option which is available with the accused to get a copy of FIR is either to bribe the police officials in order to get a copy or pay some fees(bribe) to the staff working in the Court of Magistrate. Therefore, such an uploading of the FIR on the official websites of the police in different states would bring definitely bring the much needed “transparency in administration of criminal justice”.




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