First Information Report; Youth Bar Association of India Vs. Union of India [Supreme Court of India, 07-09-2016]

Constitution of India – Article 32 – Copy of FIR – The directions for uploading of FIR in the website of all the States shall be given effect from 15th November, 2016.

Copy of FIR


IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION

[Dipak Misra] and [C. Nagappan] JJ.

September 07, 2016

WRIT PETITION (CRL.) NO.68 OF 2016

Youth Bar Association of India Petitioner(s)

Versus

Union of India and Others Respondent(s)

For Petitioner(s) Ms. Manju Jetley, Adv. For Respondent(s) Krishnayan Sen,Adv. Mr. Dharmendra Kumar Sinha,Adv. Mr. G. Prakash,Adv. Mr. Parijat Sinha,Adv. Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee,Adv. Mr. Rohit K. Singh,Adv. Mrs. Anil Katiyar,Adv. Mr. Saurabh Trivedi,Adv. Mr. V. N. Raghupathy,Adv. Ms. Hemantika Wahi, Adv.

O R D E R

Issue Rule.

2. In this writ petition, preferred under Article 32 of the Constitution of India, the petitioner, Youth Bar Association of India, has prayed for issue of a writ in the nature of mandamus, directing the Union of India and the States to upload each and every First Information Report registered in all the police stations within the territory of India in the official website of the police of all States, as early as possible, preferably within 24 hours from the time of registration.

3. After the writ petition was entertained by this Court, notices were issued to the Union of India and the States.

4. It is submitted by Mr. Sanpreet Singh Ajmani, learned counsel appearing for the petitioner that after registration of the First Information Report if it is uploaded in the official website of police, that will solve many unnecessary problems faced by the accused persons and their family members. Learned counsel would contend 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. In this context, he has drawn our attention to a passage from the judgment rendered in

State of West Bengal and others vs. Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights, West Bengal and others (2010) 3 SCC 571

wherein it has been observed:-

“Article 21 of the Constitution in its broad perspective seeks to protect the persons of their lives and personal liberties except according to the procedure established by law. The said Article in its broad application not only takes within its fold enforcement of the rights of an accused but also the rights of the victim. The State has a duty to enforce the human rights of a citizen providing for fair and impartial investigation against any person accused of commission of a cognizable offence, which may include its own officers. In certain situations even a witness to the crime may seek for and shall be granted protection by the State.”

5. In

Som Mittal vs. Government of Karnataka (2008) 3 SCC 753

the Court has ruled thus:-

“The right to liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution is a valuable right, and hence should not be lightly interfered with. It was won by the people of Europe and America after tremendous historical struggles and sacrifices. One is reminded of Charles Dickens novel `A Tale of Two Cities in which Dr. Manette was incarcerated in the Bastille for 18 years on a mere lettre de cachet of a French aristocrat, although he was innocent.”

6. In

D.K. Basu vs. State of West Bengal AIR 1997 SC 610

it has been opined that:-

“The rights inherent in Articles 21 and 22(1) of the Constitution required to be jealously and scrupulously protected. We cannot wish away the problem. Any form of torture of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment would fall within the inhibition of Article 21 of the Constitution, whether it occurs during investigation, interrogation or otherwise. If the functionaries of the Government become law breakers, it is bound to breed contempt for law and would encourage lawlessness and every man would have the tendency to become law unto himself thereby leading to anarchanism. No civilised nation can permit that tp happen. Does a citizen shed off his fundamental right to life, the moment a policeman arrests him? Can the right to life of a citizen be put in abeyance on his arrest? These questions touch the spinal court of human rights jurisprudence. The answer, indeed, has to be an emphatic ‘No’. The precious right guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution of India cannot be denied to convicted undertrials, detenues and other prisoners in custody, except according to the procedure established by law by placing such reasonable restrictions as are permitted by law.”

7. Learned counsel for the petitioner has also drawn our attention to a Division Bench decision of Delhi High Court rendered in

Court on its Own Motion through Mr. Ajay Chaudhary vs. State (2010) 175 DLT 110 (DB)

8. On being asked, Mr. Tushar Mehta, learned Additional Solicitor General appearing for the Union of India, has submitted that the directions issued by the High Court of Delhi can be applied with certain modifications. Learned Additional Solicitor General has also drawn our attention to paragraph 4 of the affidavit filed in an interlocutory application in the present writ petition. The said paragraph reads as under:-

“4. That is it respectfully submitted that Central Government is supporting all the states to set up a mechanism for online filing of complaints under the protect ‘Crime & Criminal Tracking Network & Systems (CCTNS)’.”

9. Mr. Saurabh Trivedi, learned counsel appearing for the State of Uttarakhand has submitted that the First Information Report in respect of certain offences which are registered, like sexual offences and the offences registered under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 (POCSO Act), may be difficult to be put on the website.

10. Mr. Ranjan Mukherjee, Mr. Shikhar Garg, and Mr. Yusuf Khan, learned counsel appearing for the States of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim respectively, have submitted that insurgency would be a sensitive matter and, that apart, it may not be possible on the part of the said States to upload the First Information Reports within 24 hours.

11. Mr. Uddyam Mukherji, learned counsel appearing for the State of Odisha has submitted that whether a matter is sensitive or not, the Court may say no reasons should be given because the allegation in the F.I.R. shall speak for itself.

12. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, we think it appropriate to record the requisite conclusions and, thereafter, proceed to issue the directions:-

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