Police Report u/s 173 CrPC not a Public Document

Challans or Charge Sheets filed by police under Section 173 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) cannot be put on public domain or website, says the Supreme Court in Sarav Das v Union of India [2023 (1) KHC 451 (SC)].

A conjoint reading of Section 173 and 207 of the CrPC, investigation agency is required to furnish copy of the Police Report along with relevant documents to the accused and none others.

Putting the First Information Reports (FIRs) on website cannot be equated with putting Charge Sheets along with relevant documents on public domains and websites of state governments.

Copy of the charge sheet along with the necessary documents cannot be said to be public documents within the definition of public document under Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act (IEA).

Under Section 75 of the IEA, all documents other than the documents mentioned in Section 74 IEA are private documents. Therefore, Charge Sheet along with the documents under Section 173 CrPC cannot be said to be public documents under section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act. Therefore, the Charge Sheet does not fall within the Section 4(1) (b) of the Right to Information Act (RTI Act).

As per Section 173(5) of the CrPC, when filing a report of a case to which Section 170 CrPC applies, the police shall forward to the Magistrate the report and other document or relevant extracts (other than the documents already sent), which the prosecution proposes to rely on for prosecuting the accused.