Access to FIR data sought for integrated software

PITB informs authorities of need for sharing of record by police

Muhammad Shahzad May 28, 2021


Punjab Police has been contacted to avoid a delay in development of the Integrated Criminal Justice System (ICJS) caused by denial of access to FIR data, The Express Tribune has learnt.

Under the ICJS system, departments, such as the police, prosecution, probation, judiciary and prisons, directly or indirectly related to the justice system were to be integrated through a central computerised system.

However, Punjab Police appears to be hampering the process by denying access to the FIRs data, the baseline of the system.

Punjab Information and Technology Board (PITB), the department involved in developing software for the purpose, has raised the issue before higher authorities.

The department informed the Lahore district and sessions judge that it was working diligently on the “implementation and enhancement” of the software system designed for the district judiciary.

The next step requires linking data of courts with that of the police and prosecution departments to promote “a holistic judicial ecosystem”.

“This system now manages the case information, cause lists and reports of the courts of not only Lahore, but of several other districts,” it added.

However, “the process of data sharing by the police is yet to be started, in order to have realtime information on the registered FIRs".

The district and sessions judge has written to the inspector general of police, capital city police officer, Lahore DIG operations, SP legal and DIG IT Waqas Nazir, enclosing the PITB letter.

However, Punjab DIG IT Waqas Nazir asserted while talking to The Express Tribune that “the integration to the level of FIRs has already been done. Prosecution department has provided NOC for remaining integration as well, which will be completed in a few days by the PITB."

He claimed, Punjab Police had taken lead in the process by issuing the NOC for integration with the prosecution and prisons departments almost six months ago.

He continued that two meetings were held in his office for the purpose. He said the integration work would be completed after the NOCs would be received by the PITB.

An official said the ICJS development was based on “system to system stalking”.

He added that a lot of automation had already been done in all the departments independently and much of the data was now being generated digitally. "Through ICJS, all such data will be integrated, meaning it will automatically be uploaded from the departments concerned."

Previously, once an FIR was registered, it was uploaded to the police’s Public Complaints Management System. During the investigation process, evidence was uploaded on the PolCom system. The matter was then forwarded to the judiciary and prosecution.

The various entities had similar digital databases. After conviction, the accused was sent to jail where the prisons department would come into the equation and it too had developed a digital database through its Prison Management System. During the process, organisations like the Punjab Forensic Science Agency (PFSA) were also engaged and they maintained a database.

He continued that the details of a case, suspect and victim would automatically be posted to the judiciary’s Case Flow Management System (CFMS) by the Prosecution Case Management System.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2021.