The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed all states and union territories to upload FIRs on their websites within 24 hours of registration at police stations and gave them time till November 15 to put the mechanism in place. The FIRs shall be made available on the websites of the police department concerned or state governments.
A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and C Nagappan, however, extended the time up to 72 hours for states which are located in difficult terrains where internet connectivity is poor.
The bench exempted police authorities from uploading FIRs on sensitive cases pertaining to insurgency and sexual offences against women and children, but said the decision not to upload the FIR shall not be taken by an officer below the rank of deputy superintendent of police or any person holding equivalent post.
Further, in case a copy of the FIR is not provided on the ground of being sensitive in nature, the court said, the aggrieved person should approach the superintendent of police, who would constitute a committee of three police officials to examine his complaint.
The bench also made it clear that the accused cannot take benefit before the courts of law from the fact that FIRs lodged against them have not been uploaded on the website.
The court order came on a PIL filed by ‘Youth Bar Association of India’ that had sought directions to the Centre as well as all states and union territories to order uploading of FIRs within 24 hours. It argued 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.
Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Union of India, pointed out that the central government is supporting all the states to set up a mechanism for online filing of complaints under the plan ‘Crime & Criminal Tracking Network & Systems’ (CCTNS).