[Answered] Critically analyze the Law Commission of India’s recommendations on e-FIR. Discuss the potential impact of these recommendations on the criminal justice system in India.

Introduction: Describe the concept of e-FIR

Body: Highlight concerns regarding the recommendations of the Law Commission and the impact of these recommendations.

Conclusion: Way forward

The Law Commission of India, in Report No. 282, proposed that for cognizable offenses where the identity of the accused is not known, electronic First Information Reports (e-FIRs) should be permitted. In cases where the accused is identified, e-FIR registration may be allowed initially for cognizable offenses carrying a maximum punishment of up to three years under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and other relevant laws.

Concerns regarding recommendations of the Law Commission

  • Efficiency: The effectiveness of the system depends on factors like internet access, digital literacy, and the availability of necessary infrastructure, raising concerns about equitable access.Top of Form
  • Verification Process: Concerns over potential misuse and security breaches may also be raised by the usage of OTP verification and the demand to submit legitimate ID proof, such as Aadhaar. These developments may give rise to privacy issues.
  • Human Interaction and Investigation: The e-FIR system, as outlined, may postpone human interaction in the reporting process, potentially delaying immediate actions required in certain cases, such as kidnappings or crimes where timely visits to crime scenes are crucial.
  • Non-uniformity: The report does not delve into the models adopted by states currently implementing e-FIR, leaving a gap in understanding the practical challenges and successes faced by these states.

Impact of recommendations of e-FIR

  • Streamlined procedure: By removing bureaucratic obstacles and improving user friendliness, the e-FIR system seeks to streamline the complaint submission procedure.
  • Better Verification: By requiring the uploading of legitimate ID proof, like Aadhaar, and utilizing OTP verification, the verification process can be improved and the possibility of baseless or fraudulent complaints can be decreased.
  • Effective Documentation: Electronic filing guarantees effective complaint documentation, which minimizes paperwork and facilitates information management and organization for law enforcement organizations.
  • Enhanced Accessibility: People living in rural areas may find the online platform especially helpful since it facilitates the filing of complaints without requiring them to physically visit a police station.
  • Preservation of Complaint Contents: Electronic filing preserves the contents of the complaint, preventing tampering or alteration, which can be crucial for maintaining the integrity of the information.
  • Reduced Registration Costs: The e-FIR system may reduce costs associated with traditional paperwork and manual registration processes, contributing to resource efficiency.

Conclusion

A well-considered and well-implemented e-FIR system has the potential to streamline processes and improve overall transparency and effectiveness within the criminal justice system.

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