Police authorities cannot deny certified copy of FIR, except in some sensitive cases

High Court of Chhattisgarh: The Court while dealing with the issue wherein a copy of FIR was denied to the appellant/petitioner by the police authorities on grounds of FIR being forwarded to the Magistrate, the Bench comprising of Goutam Bhaduri, J., held that that even if the copy of FIR has been forwarded to the Magistrate, a person seeking certified copy of FIR from the police authorities cannot be denied, except in some sensitive cases as it would amount to infringement of the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioner has moved to the High Court since his petition seeking the certified copy of FIR has been rejected by the police authorites on grounds that the FIR has been forwarded to the Magistrate. Following refusal, the petitioner applied to the Magistrate but received only the photocopy of the FIR thus the counsel for petitioner contended that refusal to provide the certified FIR copy is the violation of Article 21 of the Constitution as it infringed the right to defend the petitioner for the alleged offence.

The Court relying on plethora of judgments and the directions given in Youth Bar Association of India v. Union of India, 2016 SCC OnLine SC 914, held that a person cannot be denied to get a certified copy of the FIR from the police authorities,except in some sensitive cases, as referring a person to avail the copy of FIR from Magistrate would absolve the police authorities from their duties which is against the observations of the Supreme Court and any violation of the directions issued by the SC is the contempt of court. Therefore, the submission made by the State that the petitioner can avail a copy of the FIR from the concerned Magistrate cannot be appreciated as denying the certified copy of FIR by police authorities would offend the right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution except in offences of sexual nature, offences pertaining to insurgency, terrorism and of that category, offences under POCSO Act and other such offences. Allowing the petition, the Court directed the State to abide by the directions issued by the Supreme Court to upload the FIR in the police website and any official website of the government. [Titash Banik v. State of Chattisgarh,  2016 SCC OnLine Chh 1623, decided on 23-12-2016]

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