Working of forensic labs under HC lens

Legal Correspondent

Shimla, March 3

Expressing concern over the functioning and quality of the State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFSL), Junga, and the Range Forensic Science Laboratories, Dharamsala amp; Mandi, the High Court has directed the state government to inform it about the average time taken for reporting of samples received from investigating agencies.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua directed the government to specify the total number of pendency of samples in the laboratories. The court also directed the state to furnish the details about the staff strength, the number of posts lying vacant, the number of machines lying out of order in the laboratories.

During the course of hearing, amicus curiae Deepak Kaushal sought time to submit his report regarding the functioning and quality of the labs and how these could be improved. The court had given liberty to him for inspecting the laboratories

The court passed the order yesterday on a petition alleging therein that the procedure of collection and sealing of physical evidence collected at the scene of crime was not of high standards.

The petitioner submitted that the investigation of any criminal case was the backbone of criminal justice in society, hence securing and collecting evidence needed to be properly packaged, sealed and labelled, which is tamper-proof with a barcode.

The petitioner alleged that there had been many criminal cases in which the spirit of the case was dampened due to the evidence being tampered with by officials, who were in charge of handling the case. As such, the protectors of law became the perpetrators of law.

The petitioner prayed that instead of the archaic and outdated methods of sealing evidence by way of wax and stamp seals, the tamper-proof packaging be introduced and made as a cardinal principle in criminal cases. The petitioner prayed that certain guidelines should be issued to police officials regarding the collection, labeling and forwarding of evidence with new methodology and scientific method.

The court has listed the matter for further hearing on March 30.

Courtesy: Tribune News Service

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