The Karnataka High Court, hearing public interest litigation (PIL) on the delay by Lokayukta in uploading of First Information Report (FIR) on its website, was informed that there is a possibility of destruction of evidence if the FIRs are uploaded immediately on the website in sensitive cases.
Advocate Venkatesh Arabatti, counsel for Lokayukta argued that if the FIR of sensitive cases is posted on the website immediately, there is the possibility that the accused can destroy the evidence in the case thus defeating the the purpose of Prevention of Corruption Act.”
Hence, in order to maintain a balance between the rights of the society and the accused, the FIRs related to sensitive cases are not uploaded on the website immediately. Apart from this, the FIR in other cases will be posted on the website within 24 hours of filing as per the Supreme Court directive, he said.
The PIL was filed by Advocate Umapati based on the apex court directive that all FIRs must be uploaded on the official website of the concerned Police within 24 hours.
The divisional bench of the Karnataka High Court, headed by Chief Justice P.B. Varale observed that Lokayukta needs to maintain confidentiality in some cases. The court disposed the petition stating the grievance raised in the petition have been resolved.
In 2016, the Supreme court had issued directions that concerned departments need to publish the FIR on their official website within 24 hours of its filing. The directive is being followed by agencies, including CBI. The state high court had in 2018 directed the ACB and BMTF to compulsorily comply with the Supreme Court order.
However, on August 11, 2022, the High Court abolished the Anti-Corruption Bureau and restored powers to the Lokayukta police to probe cases. The petitioner claimed that Lokayukta was not complying with the SC order and thus sought redressal of his grievance.