NEW DELHI: The police has opposed in the Delhi High Court a PIL seeking that e-FIRs be lodged for all offences, instead of only those crimes where the accused is unknown, saying it could lead to "abuse of process of law" and "settling of personal scores" by unscrupulous online complainants.
Delhi Police, in an affidavit placed before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao, also said lodging of FIRs online in all cases would increase the burden on the investigative process and will take away the agency's power to conduct a preliminary enquiry before taking such a step.
It further told the court that lodging of e-FIRs is "fraught with practical problems" and a layman unfamiliar with the intricacies of the law may not be able to lodge an effective FIR.
"It (e-FIRs) may cause extremely high investigative burden on police apart from curtailing its power to conduct preliminary enquiry in appropriate cases. It may also give undue latitude as well as opportunity to unscrupulous complainants to nail others by hook or by crook", the affidavit said.
Besides, it could lead to "abuse of process of law" as well as "settling of personal scores", it said. "In order to settle personal scores, matters with regard to money transactions which are civil in nature will be registered online giving it a colour of criminal case."
The affidavit was filed in response to the plea by two lawyers, Tajinder Singh and Anurag Chauhan, who have sought directions to the Centre, Delhi government and the police to implement online FIR services for all cognizable and non-cognizable offences in the national capital territory.
The court on Wednesday asked the Centre and the Delhi government to indicate their stand on the issue, as they had not filed their respective affidavits, and listed the matter for further hearing on July 12.
The police in its affidavit has also said that in cases where the victim was a minor or a woman, lodging of e-FIRs could lead to disclosure of their identity.
Apart from that, that lodging of e-FIRs was likely to cause great inconvenience and mental trauma to the accused, it added.
The affidavit said that the Delhi Police has a very effective internal mechanism through which a complainant can ensure registration of FIR in cognizable offences in the event of refusal on the part of the duty officer of a police station The petitioners have contended that in view of the technological advancements, when almost every Indian was using a smartphone, "online registration of FIRs is need of the hour and would be welcome change, which will ensure transparency, and accuracy of information as to the commission of cognizable offences reported to the police".