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The Delhi High Court has directed the Delhi Police to consider allowing online registration of FIRs related to missing persons by way of SMS, e-mails, and WhatsApp.
The Court has opined that this would ensure that time is not lost and the investigation is carried out in an expeditious manner.
In the event a report is found to be false or the person is found, the FIR can always be cancelled, it has added.
The directions issued by a Division Bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal were passed in a suo motu writ petition concerning the kidnapping of a person in August 2018.
The same was taken up by the High Court after the wife of the missing person wrote a letter to the High Court alleging that her husband was kidnapped by one Matru and his associates on August 4, 2018.
On October 10, 2018, the PIL Committee had called for a report from the DCP, South District in the matter.
On the first day of the hearing in the matter, the Court had observed that an FIR in the matter was registered only on December 28, 2018.
It had further recorded that although different departments of the Delhi Police – right up to the office of the Commissioner of Police – received representations by the wife regarding her missing husband, there was a delay in registration of the FIR. The representations had even mentioned the names of persons against whom she had some suspicion, it further said.
After perusing the reports filed in the matter, the Court had subsequently recorded that no effective measures were taken by the police to trace the missing person, except for conducting some cursory investigation. It was only after the present petition was registered by the Court suo motu that the police got activated, it concluded.
“Thanks to the gross inaction on the part of the police, valuable time has been lost in tracing the missing person. It is deemed appropriate to direct that the matter be transferred forthwith to the Crime Branch, Delhi...”
When the case came up for hearing in May, the Court was informed that the concerned investigating officer was issued a “written warning” for the delay in registration of FIR in the case. Further, an notice calling for an explanation had also been issued to the then SHO for the lapse on his part.
After further directing the Delhi Police to file a fresh status report in the case after six weeks, the Court added that the Delhi Police should consider registration of FIRs with regard to missing persons online by way of SMS, e-mails, and WhatsApp.
“Delhi Police is also directed to consider allowing registration of FIRs with regard to missing persons online by way of SMS, e-mails, WhatsApp. This, in the opinion of the Court, would ensure that the valuable time is not lost and investigation is carried out in an expeditious manner. In the event, the report is false or the person is found, the FIR can always be cancelled.”
Advocate Sumeet Verma is the Amicus Curiae is the case. The State is being represented by Standing Counsel Rahul Mehra.
The matter will be heard next on July 17.
Read the order: