PIL for FIR copy to be given to accused in 24 hours
A Calcutta-based social activist on Tuesday filed a PIL in the Supreme Court seeking a direction to all states and Union Territories to ensure that copies of FIRs are made available to accused persons within 24 hours in all criminal cases, particularly during the pandemic.
According to Avishek Goenka’s petition, although the Supreme Court had in the 2016 Youth Bar Association of India Vs Union of India case made it mandatory for police across the country to provide the accused a copy of the FIR within 24 hours of a request being made by the person, the order is not being complied with in many cases.
In view of the pandemic crisis, a large number of people are finding it all the more difficult to get copies of FIRs, which is a violation of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Articles 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and liberty) of the Constitution, the petition said.
The PIL, which is yet to be listed for formal hearing, has urged the court to ensure delivery of certified copies of FIRs, along with copies of the complaints, from police station within 24 hours of requests, particularly during the pandemic.
According to the petition, the issue has assumed immense importance against the backdrop of the pandemic during which the courts of jurisdictional magistrates are either closed or are functioning in an extremely limited manner, forcing accused persons to abandon their legal remedies.