Maintaining the privilege of a charged to data and putting a keep an eye on the power of the police to deny a man of his freedom, the Supreme Court on Wednesday ordered States and Union Territories to transfer, on police or government sites, First Information Reports (FIRs) inside 24 hours of their enlistment in police headquarters.
A Bench of Justices Dipak Misra and C. Nagappan directed the implementation of this step to usher in transparency in police work. It said an accused had every right to know what he was accused of. “Where liberty of a person is at stake and the criminal law is set in motion, the accused should have all the information,” the Bench observed.
It said access to the FIR would help the accused prepare his defence and “seek redressal of his grievances.”
The court request went ahead a writ appeal by the Youth Bar Association of India prior this year looking for such a heading to the Union government, States and UTs.
The Supreme Court Bench however exempted from publication FIRs in specific cases. These incorporate instances of insurrection, child abuse, sexual offenses and terrorism. The FIRs enlisted in these classes would keep on being far from people in general eye inferable from issues of protection and national interest. The court consented to an accommodation by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, for the Center, that the rundown of such delicate cases ought to be illustrative and not comprehensive.
If there should arise an occurrence of protest against such non-distribution of FIRs, the Superintendent of Police in rural areas and Police Commissioner in metros, will form a advisory group of three officers, which will settle on the protestation in three weeks. In zones where Internet access is constrained, the Bench expanded the due date for distributed the FIR on sites to 48 hours, which can at present further be extended to a most extreme of 72 hours.