Delhi High Court suggests electronic communication of FIRs

The court noted that Delhi Police was registering all FIRs electronically, and uploaded the FIRs on the police website, except in cases of sexual offences, POCSO cases, terrorism and similar ‘sensitive’ cases, since February 2011.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Updated: September 22, 2016 3:18 am
FIR, FIR registartion, delay in information, electronic FIR, online fir, FIR result, FIR information delay, how to file FIR, delhi, delhi high court, delhi hc, indian express news, delhi, delhi news The bench, however, observed that the CrPC made it mandatory to communicate the FIR details to the area magistrate concerned.

Observing that delays by police in sending FIRs before the area magistrate were “fatal to the prosecution case”, leading to acquittals in “dangerous crimes”, the Delhi High Court has suggested that FIRs should be communicated electronically.

The bench of Justice Gita Mittal and Justice G S Sistani has directed the District Judges of the six district courts in the city to hold consultation with Delhi Police, Director Prosecution and Standing Counsel (criminal) of the Delhi government to “consider as to how modern methods of such transmission shall be evolved and implemented” for sending copies of FIR and investigation documents to the area magistrate and getting copies of all investigation related documents typed.

The court noted that Delhi Police was registering all FIRs electronically, and uploaded the FIRs on the police website, except in cases of sexual offences, POCSO cases, terrorism and similar ‘sensitive’ cases, since February 2011.

The bench, however, observed that the CrPC made it mandatory to communicate the FIR details to the area magistrate concerned, and “there can thus be no reservation on account of confidentiality and privacy in such communication”.

“Given the electronic mode of communication which is now available with the police as well as the Delhi Judiciary, we see no reason as to why the investigating agency should not resort to and of e-transmission of the report to the concerned jurisdictional magistrate… to ensure timely compliance of section 157 CrPC,” observed the bench. “It would save valuable time and effort on the part of the investigating agency whose services are already stretched…”

The bench noted that in several criminal cases, the delay in sending the FIR copies to the area magistrates was “fatal to the prosecution”, as the lawyers for the accused had argued that the delay was due to “effort on part of the investigating agency to build a false case against the accused person and of padding in the investigation”. The observation was made while hearing the appeal filed by a man undergoing a life sentence.

The bench also noted “illegibly written documents” filed by police as part of the investigation records “may create impediments to effective investigation” and “may lead to errors during investigation or even during trial”. The court further observed that while section 157 CrPC called for sending the FIR of any cognizable offence to the magistrate for cognizance before initiating inquiry, the provision had been created before electronic communication was invented.

“The legislature has not kept pace with development in technology specially so far as the CrPC is concerned. However there is no reason why the courts cannot use technology… and mould procedural compliances… without any infraction of substantive statutory provisions,” said the court. The order passed by the bench on September 9 was made public Wednesday. It has called for a report from District Judge (Headquarters) on the issue within four weeks.