After the Delhi High Court directed Delhi Police to consider allowing online registration of FIRs via SMS, emails and WhatsApp, police will launch an e-facility in 90 days, enabling family members of missing persons to register complaints through an icon on their website.
This was revealed before the High Court by a senior Delhi Police officer, who added that a mobile app for the purpose will take a month more to come up.
Online lodging of FIRs via SMS, emails and WhatsApp became the need of the hour, after a bench of Justice Manmohan and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal found, in a case relating to a maid’s disappearance, that “due to delay in lodging of FIR, the golden hour of investigation has been lost and in all probability important leads have dried up”.
It added that “with online registration of FIRs, the human interface — which normally causes delay in registration of FIR — would be obviated.”
The Deputy Commissioner of Police (Legal Cell), who handed over the status report to the court, also gave a proposed road map for online reporting of missing persons through the Delhi Police web portal and mobile app, and listed steps for lodging such complaints.
The report said a link would be provided on the Delhi Police website to lodge a missing person complaint. It added that “on clicking the ‘Report a Missing Person/Child’ link, the missing person registration form will seek” details of the complainant and of the person/child missing.
After submission of relevant information, the same will be forwarded to stakeholders concerned to “initiate a police response mechanism”.
“An enquiry officer will be assigned at the police station level for further enquiry…,” it said. The SHO of the police station concerned shall then ensure the FIR is lodged immediately.
The steps listed by police also state that the complainant will be provided regular alerts on his/her mobile on the case’s progress. It said an ACP-level officer shall ensure the SHO concerned takes the required action on the information received, within 24 hours.
Taking note, the court said the “time frame mentioned in the said affidavit and the road map shall be duly complied with”.
Police submitted the details, after the court had expressed anguish in May over the delay in lodging an FIR in the case of a man, who has been missing since August 2018.