SC: FIR copy must be given to accused, put up on police website

In a set of about dozen directions, the apex court held: "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 CrPC."

Supreme Court

In a major relief to lakhs of litigants in the country, the Supreme Court has ordered that a certified copy of FIR (First Information Report) should be given to an accused and also it should be uploaded on the respective police website.

A division bench of Justice Dipak Misra and Justice C. Nagappan in the case of Youth Bar Association of India Vs. Union of India (Criminal Appeal No. 68 of 2016) held that “each and every FIR registered in all the police stations within the territory of India” shall be uploaded on the official website of the police of all states. Those who want a certified copy shall apply in the prescribed form with the prescribed fee for the same.

Hitherto, the police never used to give a copy of any FIR unless a bribe is given, which they call “chai pani”. A copy of this order was also directed to be circulated to all states including the directors general of police of all states.

In a set of about dozen directions, the apex court held:  “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 CrPC.”

* 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.

* 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.

* 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.

* 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 an equivalent post. In case, the States where District Magistrate has a role, he may also assume the said authority.

The apex court also ordered for the constitution of a three-member committee to deal with the grievances of an affected person which should decide the matter within three days of the representation of the affected person. He or she can also make a representation to the commissioner or superintendent of police and the three-member committee shall entertain that representation.

* The directions for uploading of FIR on the website of all the States shall be given effect from 15th November 2016. Often police resort to extortionist tactics when a complaint is made, whether frivolous or genuine. The concerned Station House Officer (SHO) sends a cop who extracts and extorts and according to the Vora Committee report on the criminalization of politics this works like the nervous system carrying the blood and the money is distributed at various levels like blood is to various organs of the body.