Sunday, 18 September 2016

SC:FIR should be uploaded on website promptly

Mr. Uddyam Mukherji, learned counsel appearing for
the State of Odisha has submitted that whether a matter is
sensitive or not, the Court may say no reasons should be
given because the allegation in the F.I.R. shall speak for
itself.
12. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, we
think it appropriate to record the requisite conclusions and,
thereafter, proceed to issue the directions:-
(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(d) 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 connectivity problems 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.
(e) 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.
(f) 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.
(g) If an FIR is not uploaded, needless to say, it shall
not enure per se a ground to obtain the benefit under
Section 438 of the Cr.P.C.
(h) 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.
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION
WRIT PETITION (CRL.) NO.68 OF 2016
Youth Bar Association of India
V
Union of India and Others 
Dated:September 07, 2016.
Citation:AIR 2016 SC 4136
Citation:(2016) 9 SCC 473


2. In this writ petition, preferred under Article 32 of
the Constitution of India, the petitioner, Youth Bar
Association of India, has prayed for issue of a writ in the
nature of mandamus, directing the Union of India and the
States to upload each and every First Information Report
registered 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 registration.
3. After the writ petition was entertained by this
Court, notices were issued to the Union of India and the
States.
4. It is submitted by Mr. Sanpreet Singh Ajmani,
learned counsel appearing for the petitioner that after
registration of the First Information Report if it is
uploaded in the official website of police, that will solve
many unnecessary problems faced by the accused persons and
their family members. Learned counsel would contend that
when the criminal law is set in motion and liberty of an
individual is at stake, he should have the information so
that he can take necessary steps to protect his liberty. In
this context, he has drawn our attention to a passage from
the judgment rendered in State of West Bengal and others vs.
Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal
and others (2010) 3 SCC 571, wherein it has been observed:-
“Article 21 of the Constitution in its broad
perspective seeks to protect the persons of
their lives and personal liberties except
according to the procedure established by law.
The said Article in its broad application not
only takes within its fold enforcement of the
rights of an accused but also the rights of the
victim. The State has a duty to enforce the
human rights of a citizen providing for fair
and impartial investigation against any person
accused of commission of a cognizable offence,
which may include its own officers. In certain
situations even a witness to the crime may seek
for and shall be granted protection by the
State.”
5. In Som Mittal vs. Government of Karnataka (2008) 3
SCC 753, the Court has ruled thus:-
“The right to liberty under Article 21 of the
Constitution is a valuable right, and hence
should not be lightly interfered with. It was
won by the people of Europe and America after
tremendous historical struggles and sacrifices.
One is reminded of Charles Dickens novel `A
Tale of Two Cities in which Dr. Manette was
incarcerated in the Bastille for 18 years on a3
mere lettre de cachet of a French aristocrat,
although he was innocent.”
6. In D.K. Basu vs. State of West Bengal AIR 1997 SC
610 it has been opined that:-
“The rights inherent in Articles 21 and 22(1)
of the Constitution required to be jealously
and scrupulously protected. We cannot wish away
the problem. Any form of torture of cruel,
inhuman or degrading treatment would fall
within the inhibition of Article 21 of the
Constitution, whether it occurs during
investigation, interrogation or otherwise. If
the functionaries of the Government become law
breakers, it is bound to breed contempt for law
and would encourage lawlessness and every man
would have the tendency to become law unto
himself thereby leading to anarchanism. No
civilised nation can permit that tp happen.
Does a citizen shed off his fundamental right
to life, the moment a policeman arrests him?
Can the right to life of a citizen be put in
abeyance on his arrest? These questions touch
the spinal court of human rights jurisprudence.
The answer, indeed, has to be an emphatic 'No'.
The precious right guaranteed by Article 21 of
the Constitution of India cannot be denied to
convicted undertrials, detenues and other
prisoners in custody, except according to the
procedure established by law by placing such
reasonable restrictions as are permitted by
law.”
7. Learned counsel for the petitioner has also drawn
our attention to a Division Bench decision of Delhi High
Court rendered in Court on its Own Motion through Mr. Ajay
Chaudhary vs. State (2010) 175 DLT 110 (DB).
8. On being asked, Mr. Tushar Mehta, learned Additional
Solicitor General appearing for the Union of India, has
submitted that the directions issued by the High Court of
Delhi can be applied with certain modifications. Learned
Additional Solicitor General has also drawn our attention to
paragraph 4 of the affidavit filed in an interlocutory
application in the present writ petition. The said paragraph
reads as under:-
“4. That is it respectfully submitted that
Central Government is supporting all the states
to set up a mechanism for online filing of
complaints under the protect 'Crime & Criminal
Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS)'.”
9. Mr. Saurabh Trivedi, learned counsel appearing for
the State of Uttarakhand has submitted that the First
Information Report in respect of certain offences which are
registered, like sexual offences and the offences registered
under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act,
2012 (POCSO Act), may be difficult to be put on the website.
10. Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee, Mr. Shikhar Garg, and
Mr. Yusuf Khan, learned counsel appearing for the States of
Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim respectively, have submitted
that insurgency would be a sensitive matter and, that apart,
it may not be possible on the part of the said States to
upload the First Information Reports within 24 hours.
11. Mr. Uddyam Mukherji, learned counsel appearing for
the State of Odisha has submitted that whether a matter is
sensitive or not, the Court may say no reasons should be
given because the allegation in the F.I.R. shall speak for
itself.
12. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, we
think it appropriate to record the requisite conclusions and,
thereafter, proceed to issue the directions:-
(a) 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.
(b) 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.
(c) 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.
(d) 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 connectivity problems 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.
(e) 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.
(f) 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 the7
FIR. The examples given with regard to the sensitive
cases are absolutely illustrative and are not exhaustive.
(g) If an FIR is not uploaded, needless to say, it shall
not enure per se a ground to obtain the benefit under
Section 438 of the Cr.P.C.
(h) 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.
(i) The competent authority referred to hereinabove
shall constitute the committee, as directed herein-above,
within eight weeks from today.
(j) 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/his8
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.
(k) The directions for uploading of FIR in the website
of all the States shall be given effect from 15th
November, 2016.
13. Let a copy of this order be sent to all the Home
Secretaries and the Director Generals of Police of the States
concerned.
14. The writ petition is, accordingly, disposed of.
.....................J.
[Dipak Misra]
.....................J.
[C. Nagappan]
New Delhi
September 07, 2016.
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