THE Supreme Court on Friday held that chargesheet filed in criminal cases by investigating agencies cannot be put in public domain for free access. Dismissing a PIL seeking free public access to chargesheets, a bench of Justices M R Shah and C T Ravikumar said uploading a chargesheet would be contrary to the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). It said a chargesheet is not a ‘public document’ and cannot be published online. The top court on January 9 had reserved its verdict on the plea. The apex court had orally observed that if FIRs are given to those unrelated to the case like busybodies and NGOs, it might be misused.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan had submitted that it is the duty of every public authority to put out that information suo motu. “Every member of the public has the right to be informed of who is accused, and who has committed a particular crime,” Bhushan said.