Millennium Post (Kolkata)
FB, Insta users can appeal to Oversight Board to purge harmful content
‘When police probes, court should not go into the merits of the allegations in the FIR’
NEW DELHI: An independent board set up by Facebook to look into hate speech and other undesirable content on the platform on Tuesday said it will now accept cases from Facebook and Instagram users who believe the company wrongfully allowed such content to remain on these social media platforms.
Facebook, which has faced flak in many parts of the world over various issues, including data breaches and handling of hate speech, had set up the Oversight Board last year.
The board includes former judges, journalists and human rights activists, who review appeals from users on material that has been taken down from Facebook and Instagram, and make binding content decisions for the social networking platforms.
NEW DELHI: A first information report (FIR) is not an encyclopedia which must disclose all the facts and details relating to the offence reported and courts should not go into the merits of the allegations when investigation by the police is in progress, the Supreme Court said on Tuesday.
While observing that police must be permitted to complete the probe, the apex court said that high courts must appreciate that speedy investigation is the requirement in the criminal administration of justice and they should be slow in interfering with the criminal proceedings at the initial stage.
A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud noted that it has come across several orders passed by high courts directing not to arrest the accused during the investigation or till the charge sheet is filed.
The first information report is not an encyclopedia which must disclose all facts and details relating to the offence reported. Therefore, when the investigation by the police is in progress, the court should not go into the merits of the allegations in the FIR. Police must be permitted to complete the investigation, said the bench, also comprising Justices M R Shah and Sanjiv Khanna.
It would be premature to pronounce the conclusion based on hazy facts that the complaint/FIR does not deserve to be investigated or that it amounts to abuse of process of law, the bench said in its 64-page verdict.
The top court delivered the judgement by which it quashed the September last year interim order of the Bombay High Court which had directed that no coercive measures shall be adopted against the accused in respect of an FIR lodged in 2019 on allegations of cheating, forgery and others.
The bench noted that in a given case, there may be allegations of abuse of process of law by converting a civil dispute into a criminal dispute, only with a view to pressurise the accused. It said similarly, in a given case the complaint itself on the face of it can be said to be barred by law.
The allegations in the FIR/ complaint may not at all disclose the commission of a cognizable offence, it said, adding, In such cases and in exceptional cases with circumspection, the high court may stay the further investigation.
It said at the same time, there may be genuine complaints or FIRs and the police or the investigating agency has a statutory obligation and duty to enquire into the cognizable offences.
Therefore, a balance has to be struck between the rights of the genuine complainants and the FIRs disclosing commission of a cognizable offence and the statutory obligation/duty of the investigating agency to investigate into the cognizable offences on the one hand and those innocent persons against whom the criminal proceedings are initiated which may be in a given case abuse of process of law and the process, it said.
In such cases, and only in exceptional cases and where it is found that non-interference would result into miscarriage of justice, the high court, in exercise of its inherent powers under section 482 CrPC and/ or Article 226 of the Constitution of India, may quash the FIR/complaint/criminal proceedings and even may stay the further investigation, it said.