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9th November 2023 (15 Topics)

FIR: Moving from Paper to Electronic Medium

Context:

  • The Law Commission of India proposed a significant recommendation in Report No. 282 regarding the registration of an e-FIR (First Information Report) for certain types of offences, specifically when the accused is known.

What is FIR?

  • FIR is a written document prepared by the police when they receive an information about the commission of a cognizable offence.

A Cognizable offence or case is defined as the one which an officer in-charge of a police station may investigate without the order of a magistrate and effect arrest without warrant.

  • It is the first and the most important document to initiate criminal proceedings.
  • The term FIR is not defined in the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973, or in any other law. But, under police regulations, information recorded under Section 154 of CrPC is known as First Information Report (FIR).

e-FIR and its implementation in India:

  • For filing an e-FIR, the complainant does not have to visit the police station rather they can register their complaint through a mobile app or the police’s online network.
  • Once an FIR is filed, designated investigating officers will contact the complainant.
  • This initiative is being implemented partially in Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.
  • In most states adopt the e-FIR method in property offences where the accused is unknown, the Law Commission suggests e-FIR for all unknown accused cases.

What has Law Commission Recommended?

  • The procedure for ‘e-FIR’ as recommended by the Law Commission in its Report No. 282 involves the verification of information received from a portal by the police station to determine the presence of a cognizable offence.
  • If eligible, the information is entered within three days. In cases with a higher punishment, the traditional method under the Indian Penal Code is followed.
  • The ‘e-FIR’ offers the benefit of ensuring crime registration and prevents alterations to complaints.

Law Commission: The Law Commission of India is an executive body (neither Constitutional nor Statutory), constituted by President of India, whose chief function is legal reforms in the country. 

Issues related to e-FIR:

  • The abovementioned process is not a direct electronic FIR registration, requiring a physical signature within three days.
  • For cases requiring immediate action or involving blind crimes, human interaction and police expertise remains crucial.
  • The Law Commission’s report doesn’t discuss the utilization of ‘e-authentication technique or digital signatures’ under the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Verifying, please be patient.

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