New Delhi, July 24: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a public interest plea filed by Calcutta-based social activist Avishek Goenka for a directive to all states and Union Territories to ensure that FIR copies were made available within 24 hours to the accused in all criminal cases, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
A bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan, Subhash Reddy and M.R. Shah said it was not inclined to entertain the plea as there were already a number of directives from the apex court on the issue, The Telegraph reported.
According to the petition, though the Supreme Court had in a 2016 case of Youth Bar Association of India Vs Union of India made it mandatory for police across the country to provide an accused with a copy of the FIR within 24 hours of the request, the directive was not being complied with in many cases.
During the pandemic, a large number of accused are finding it all the more difficult to get copies of the FIR, which is a violation of their fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 14 (right to equality) and 21 (right to life and liberty), the petition said.
Hence, the petitioner had urged the court to ensure delivery of a certified copy of the FIR, along with a copy of the complaint from the police station, within 24 hours of the request by the accused or his family, particularly during the pandemic.
According to the petition, the issue has assumed immense importance in the backdrop of the current situation when the courts of jurisdictional magistrates are closed or are functioning in an extremely limited manner forcing the accused persons to abandon their legal remedies.