22nd January, 2023 POLITY AND GOVERNANCE
Copyright infringement not intended
- The Supreme Court of India held that the state doesn't need to provide free access to charge sheets to the public by uploading them on police or government websites.
- A Bench of the Supreme court declared that charge sheets are "private documents".
- A charge sheet refers to a legal police record that shows the name of the person brought into custody, the nature of the accusations, and the identity of the accusers. It includes;
- Information about the accused and the witnesses.
- The charges and specifications.
- The preferred charges and their referral to a summary.
- Trial record.
- A charge sheet is different from the First Information Report (FIR), which is the core document that describes a crime that has been committed.
- Once the charge sheet has been submitted to a court of law, prosecution proceedings against the accused begin in the judicial system.
- Many activists and law experts highlighted the rationality behind the disclosure of charge sheets is based on allegations and that Putting charge sheets in the public domain ensures transparency in the criminal justice system.
- The Supreme Court judge dismissed the above logic on the ground that putting charge sheets in public violates the rights of the accused, victims and even the investigating agency.