First Information Reports (FIRs) must be filed online to state police websites within 24 hours of registration, the Supreme Court ordered, according to a report by The Hindustan Times. The court said that it would give the accused time to prepare for a defence and seek redrressal for the grievances.
However, the SC added that there would be some exceptions in cases of insurgency, child abuse, sexual offences and terrorsim where the FIRs would not be published online. This was done in order to protect privacy and national interests. The court added if there is no police website in the state, the FIRs must be uploaded on to the state government’s website. The order will be effective from November 15.
A report by the Hindu said that this was not an exhaustive list but merely an illustrative. In case the FIRs are not published on the website, the court said that the superintendent of police (in rural areas) and commissioner of police (in metros) would form a committee of three officers to decide on the complaint.
The report added that in areas of low connectivity such as Jammu and Kashmir and north eastern states, this may be extended to 48 hours up to a maximum of 72 hours. The court also specified that the time delay cannot be used by an accused to get an anticipatory bail.
A report by Greater Kashmir points out that around 20% of the police stations in Jammu and Kashmir are without internet connectivity and other infrastructure.
The court order came in response to a public interest litigation filed by the Youth Bar Association of India which pleaded that every accused should get a copy of FIR so that he/she could get legal advice. “If the F.I.R is put to websites it would be in the larger public interest and the same will also avoid many difficulties being faced by the general public,” the petition read as indicated by Bar and Bench.