The Supreme Court direction to all States and Union Territories (UTs) on Wednesday to ensure uploading of FIRs on the websites within 24 hours of registration is going to pose a stiff challenge for Odisha Police.
As of now, there is no such system in place under which FIRs can be made available on the web for access of public although, under Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS), police stations can electronically store the FIRs.
Why Online FIRs?
According to the Supreme Court of India, this step will usher in transparency in police work since 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.”
While DGP KB Singh asserted that CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems) can take care of the tough task, what the SC has directed could be different altogether. Despite the fact that police stations in the State are networked through CCTNS, uploading of the FIRs will necessitate a whole new framework which is yet to be created in the State.
The CCTNS system enables police stations to record the FIRs which can be downloaded by the State Crime Records Bureau, National Crime Records Bureau as well as the Crime Branch of State Police. It is primarily for the internal use of police.
Sources pointed out that modalities for uploading FIRs for public access will have to be decided by the Government.
“It has either to be done at the end of the District Police or at the State Police Headquarters. However, it is unlikely that District Police will be mandated with the task given the multi-dimensional issues,” sources said.
The Challenges Ahead
Making available FIRs on the web will require a dedicated website of the State Police with huge server space because the copies will be authentic and meant for official use.
Last year, staggering 83,000-odd cases were registered in the State under Indian Penal Code while another 19,000 cases were booked under the special laws. With the number of cases rising, the storage space requirement will be huge.
Besides, the website will have to have advanced search options so that people can look for a document of the past year.
Moreover, the website needs to have a strong web security system to keep hackers at bay. Any compromise with the system can be of disastrous consequences.
There are issues of infrastructure too. At present, a number of police stations located in remote pockets faces challenges in electronic storage of the FIRs under the CCTNS because of slow BSNL Internet connectivity as well as erratic power supply.
A senior police officer said for compliance of the SC order, its nuances have to be understood first which will be possible only after the State Government receives the order of the apex court.
Courtesy: New Indian Express