November 17, 2023
Statue of Lady Justice


With today’s digital technology, everything has been smoothed, made transparent, made feasible, and increased efficiency and accessibility. The same also needs to be applied to the criminal justice system. If this digital technology is applied, it will not only enhance public trust in the system but also make justice more accessible and efficient.

With the same intention, the Ministry of Home Affairs made a reference to the Law Commission to submit its report analyzing how provisions of E-FIR may be included in the current law in India, or more particularly, what are the changes that need to be made in Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, to include the provisions of E-FIR.

The present article aims to present before the readers the recommendations made by the Law Commission in this regard and discuss the relevant provisions with respect to them and the related Supreme Court judgments.

What is E-FIR?

To understand the concept of E-FIR, it is necessary to understand FIR. FIR stands for First Information Report. As such, there is no provision in Indian law that defines FIR. However, Section 154 of the CrPc, 1973, talks about it by stating that it’s information that is given to a police officer that some person has committed a cognizable offense.

When such information is given through an online mode, it would amount to an E-FIR.

The Need for E-FIR

Today, it has been seen that digitalization is taking over traditional systems. Therefore, the advantages of digital technology should be added to the conservative system so as to enrich the present criminal justice system with the advantages of digital technology. The e-FIR would result in the following advantages:

  1. Timely registration of FIRs, as time to physically go to the police officers is saved,
  2. Timely status can be seen.
  3. Better modes of e-governance, accountability, and decision-making
  4. Saves people from all hassels at the police station.
  5. More transparent and effective system.
  6. More accessible to people.

However, there are certain challenges with respect to the online registration of FIRs. For example-

  1. Misuse by filing the wrong information.
  2. Issue of data security as there is no Data Protection Law in India.
  3. There is a need for primary investigation into certain offenses before registering.

It is to be noted that the Law Commission considered these issues and challenges while giving its recommendation to include the provisions of E-FIR.

Major Supreme Court Judgments on E-FIR

The Supreme Court has time and again, through its various pronouncements, clarified the concept and significance of FIR and also the need for an effective mechanism for the registration of E-FIRs.

  1. Youth Bar Association v. Union of India (2016)

The Supreme Court gave the following guidelines in this case:

  • Upload each and every FIR registered at the police stations within 24 hours. However, the same time period may be extended to 72 hours if suitable reasons are provided, like in remote areas due to the unavailability of the internet.
  • An accused is entitled to get a copy of the FIR at an earlier stage than provided under Section 207 of the Crpc, 1973.
  • If such an FIR is not published, a representation may be made before the suppository of police.
  1. Lalita Kumari v. Government of UP (2014)

Though the Court in this case directed to record the FIR in each case without having an investigation, the Court also stated that an investigation is desirable in the following cases:

  • Matrimonial disputes
  • Commercial offences
  • Medical negligence cases
  • Corruption cases

The inquiry has to be conducted in a time-bound manner, and it should in no case exceed 7 days in total.

  1. Court on its Motion v. State (2011)

The Delhi High Court in this case emphasized the accused’s right to have a copy of the FIR and also stated that the same is a public document under Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

Recommendations given by the Law Commission

The Law Commission, after considering all the benefits of E-FIRs, their challenges, the Supreme Court judgments, and all the views from the relevant authorities, made the following observations:

  1. In cases where the accused is not known, the FIR should be registered in all cognizable cases.
  2. If the accused is known, all cognizable offenses attracting punishment up to 3 years may be filed. However, while making an arrest on the basis of an E-FIR, guidelines given in the case of Arnesh Kumar v. State of Bihar (2014) must be kept in mind. Unnecessarily, the freedom of people should not be curbed.
  3. States may expand the list of cases for the registration of E-FIRS.
  4. Registration of E-FIRs shall not be extended to all cases. The offenses that require primary investigation shall be excluded.
  5. Verification of the informant or complainant through sending an OTP or other relevant mechanism
  6. A minimum punishment for filing an E-FIR should be imposed.


A step towards filing an E-FIR is a major step towards empowering citizens and enhancing more transparency and accountability in the system. Therefore, amending Section 154 Crpc as per the recommendation of the Law Commission is an important step to strengthen the criminal justice system.

Significance of the topic

The topic of E-FIR is of utmost importance for the judiciary aspirants. The topic is a major step towards reforming the criminal justice system. Judiciary coaching suggests that the topic is important for both prelims as well as from the point of view of the mains. Judiciary coaching also suggests that topics may also be prepared for the essay part of the judiciary examinations.

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