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Online legal start-up to assist customers in filing e-FIRs

| Updated on: Jan 03, 2017
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Chennai-based Vakilsearch plans to add the service on its app from February

Filing an FIR at a police station is a tedious and dreaded task for many Indians. At times, it can take over four hours to file a complaint.

Keeping this in mind, online legal services provider Vakilsearch is planning to add e-FIRs as a service on its app from February.

Filing an FIR is a constitutional right, said Hrishikesh Datar, founder of Vakilsearch. People can file it online with the help of a lawyer registered on Vakilsearch’s platform, by paying a very small amount, he said.

“This (filing of FIR) is a genuine problem many face. After a customer files an FIR on Vakilsearch, our lawyers will go to the police station, as and when required, and follow up the case. Many a time, people do not know what to write and the nuances of legalities; they are unaware of the difference between cognizable and non-cognizable crime. With this service, we want to touch as many lives as possible and make things easy and convenient for them,” Datar said.

At present, only a few States such as Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, Odisha and Karnataka have launched e-FIRs, where people can file reports on the government website by choosing the police station.

An e-FIR can be filed only for cognizable offences such as murder, rape, dowry death or kidnap where the police can make an arrest without a court order.

In the case of non-cognizable offences (assault, cheating) only a complaint can be filed online, which the police can turn into an FIR after seeking permission from the Magistrate.

Founded in 2011, VakilSearch is a legal services platform targeted towards businesses and individuals. The Chennai-based company has about 200 lawyers on its platform who offer legal guidance, comprehensive documentation, and trademark and patent registrations for business.

Currently, 90 per cent of its revenues come from businesses, but the company is now getting into newer legal services for individuals, including filing consumer complaints, divorce and property-related issues. So far, the company has served over 1,40,000 clients.

The company is also looking to raise about $10 million this year to expand its operations. It has so far raised an undisclosed amount from Kalaari Capital and Microsoft Ventures.

Datar said the professional services market in India is about $6-$10 billion at present, and has the potential to increase about 10 times in the next one decade as the country moves towards a more digital economy.

The firm recently launched a SaaS-based software, Libra, that helps lawyers go digital.

Published on January 12, 2018

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