Maharashtra CIC directs police to publish FIRs on its website
Moneylife Digital Team 22 May 2013

Uploading all FIRs, except a few, would curb illegal gratification being paid by the accused to obtain a copy of the report and soon denial of FIR would be a thing of the past in Maharashtra

In a significant order, Maharashtra state Chief Information Commission (SCIC) has directed the Director General of Police (DGP) to publish all first information reports (FIRs), except those decided by an officer of Commissioner level, on its website.

 

While giving this important judgement, Ratnakar Gaikwad, the SCIC, referred to orders passed by the Delhi High Court (WP (CRL) NO468/2010) and Orissa High Court. He said the DGP should ensure to upload FIRs from all police stations across Maharashtra on its website and submit a compliance report before 30 June 2013 before the Commission.

 

Reacting on the decision to publish FIRs, Shailesh Gandhi, former Central Information Commissioner, said, “This is indeed a very significant and important order by the SIC. We should congratulate the SIC and now take responsibility for its implementation. Activists must then monitor the websites to ensure that these orders are implemented properly and complain to the Information Commission if necessary if the order is not being implemented.”

 

According to Vinita Deshmukh, leading RTI activist and consulting editor of Moneylife, uploading FIRs on police websites will be a boon to the common man who is almost always harassed for a copy of the FIR, whether he makes an official request or asks for it under the RTI. She said, “It will also prevent tampering of the FIR (which is sometimes done at a later stage). Such transparency will also reduce alleged corruption and bribe that takes place for a copy of the FIR. The question though is, will the Maharashtra government, which is known for its lackadaisical attitude when it comes to governance particularly that which is citizen-friendly, will take any pains to implement it.”

 

RTI activist Vijay Kumbhar also expressed similar views. “The order is very good but we have to observe its implementation and implications also,” he said.

 

According to Rahul Deodhar, by making similar order (as per the Delhi and Orissa HCs) the SIC has done two salutary things. “First FIRs will now be available for everyone to download. Secondly, and more importantly, it has set a precedent and made it possible to apply the Delhi HC order in any state by using lower cost remedy of RTI appeal. I hope other states take this up through RTI,” he said.

 

Yogesh Pratap Singh (YP Singh), a former IPS officer and now a well-known advocate and activist said, there could be several issues (with the SCIC decision), which are required to be determined. He said, "...it is also important to upload the cases where police have not filed FIR despite the offence being cognizable in nature."

Singh said, "In many cases, police keep the FIR secret. For example, FIR is filed for developing a trap case and to collect ancillary evidence. This process may take days, or even months. This FIR is kept secret till the time the trap gets materialized. Or else, the accused would know about it and then would never take bribe and fall in trap. Similar is the position in many other decoy cases. In several cases, where extensive searches are needed at various places all over the country, the lead time could be as long as one week after search warrants are taken. These search warrants can be obtained only after the FIR is filed."

"As per law, the prerogative to get the copy of the FIR is with the complainant/ informant. Accused gets entitled only when there are issues of human rights. Often accused misuse FIR by filing anticipatory bail or by just absconding or by manipulating other evidence or by using political clout," he said.

Here is the order of SCIC related with publishing the FIR on police website...

 

 

Earlier, in its order on 6 December 2010, the Delhi HC has said that the FIRs should be uploaded online within 24 hours of its registration though it exempted the force from making public FIRs on sensitive issues.

 

However, whenever it does not make FIRs public, such a decision has to be taken by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Commissioner of Police and they have to inform the area magistrates, the high court had said.

 

 

The Delhi HC said, "In case a copy of the FIR is not provided on the ground of sensitive nature of the case, a person grieved by the said action, after disclosing his identity, can submit a representation with the Commissioner of Police who shall constitute a committee of three high officers and the committee shall deal with the said grievance within three days from the date of receipt of the representation and communicate it to the grieved person."

 

 

The Orissa High Court, while giving similar judgement clarified on the statutory mender inhered under Section 207 of the IPC. It said, "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 Code."

Just last week, the Punjab and Haryana High Court questioning the reluctance shown by authorities directed Punjab and Haryana police to upload the FIRs on their official websites. Observing that it would curb illegal gratification being paid by the accused to obtain a copy of the FIR, the High Court has given one-month time to Punjab and Haryana to start uploading the FIRs.

 

Comments
Surendera Bhanot
9 years ago
Dear Sucheta, I also want to know the citation of the Judgement og P&H High Court as mentioned in the last Paragraph of the report.
Surendera Bhanot
9 years ago
Very Good Order on applicability of Delhi High Court Judgement in Maharashtra. I wish that the order of CIC Maharashtra would have available in English too.

Also there is no citation of the Orissa High Court Judgement in the News report, which may please be provided.
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