A BRIEF ON THE CASE OF YOUTH BAR ASSOCIATION OF INDIA V. UNION OF INDIA and; ANOTHER [(2016) 9 SCC 473] – PART I

INTRODUCTION:

The present case of Youth Bar Association of India v. Union of India and Another [(2016) 9 SCC 473] is a recent case and order passed by the Supreme Court in respect of the powers, role and duty of police in respect of FIR, and the availability of FIRs online on the websites of police stations and/or state governments. Also dealt with was the issue of supply of a copy of the FIR to the accused before the stage as prescribed in S. 207 of the Cr P C was reached.

Section 207 of the Cr P C states that in cases where court proceedings have been initiated against the accused on the basis of a police report, the Magistrate shall, without any delay, furnish to the accused, free of cost, a copy of:

  1. The police report, and
  2. The FIR (First Information Report) recorded under S. 154.

If the information is given orally, then it shall be reduced to writing by the officer in the police station who is recording it and be read over to the informant, and notwithstanding whether the information is given in a written or verbal form, it shall be later signed by the person giving it, and a record of it shall be made in a book kept by such officer in the police station as prescribed by the State Government for this purpose.

Section 154 of the Cr P C, stating the means of recording a First Information Report (FIR) in cognizable cases.

ISSUES RAISED:

  1. MANDAMUS writ petition under Article 32, praying for issuance of a writ order directing all States to upload each FIR filed in police stations within 24 hours of its registration.
  2. COPY of FIRs should be given to the accused before criminal proceedings against him/her are initiated under S. 207 of the Cr P C.
  3. LIBERTY of an individual is at stake when criminal proceedings are initiated against him/her, so he/she has all the right to gain information so as to protect his/her liberty granted to him/her under Articles 21 and 22 (1). The uploading of FIRs on official police websites will serve this purpose.
  4. HUMAN and civil rights issue, also right to information of the accused to know of the charges levied against him/her.

RELEVANT LAWS APPLIED:

  1. Section 154 of the Cr P C, 1973.
  2. Section 207, Cr P C, 1973.
  3. Article 19 (1) (a), Indian Constitution.
  4. Article 19 (2).
  5. Article 21.
  6. Article 22 (1).
  7. Article 32.

ARGUMENTS PRESENTED:

By the petitioners:

The petitioners contended that uploading the FIRs on the official police websites will aid the accused and his/her family members. This is paramount as the liberty of an individual is at stake when he/she is charged with a crime, so he should be given all fair chances to protect his liberty.

By the respondents:

The learned counsel for the State of Uttarakhand (one of the respondents) submitted that the FIR in respect of certain offences which are registered, like sexual offences and the offences registered under the POCSO (Protection of Children from Sexual Offences) Act, 2012, would be difficult to be put on the website.

Other counsels, appearing for the States of Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim, 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 FIR within 24 hours.

[To be continued in Part II.]


*Final year law student, Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad, Symbiosis International (Deemed University), Pune.

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