Forensic Labs & Criminal Justice System

  • IASbaba
  • May 30, 2022
  • 0
Indian Polity & Constitution
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Why in News: The key to an improved criminal justice system is quality forensic labs and well-trained staff, not more legislation and harsher punishments.

Part of the process of investigation that results in the collection of proof pointing to innocence or guilt involves the deployment of forensic science.

  • Forensic science is the application of scientific perspectives and techniques to the legal process, including investigations and courtroom protocol. It is the use of scientific data and procedures specifically for the legal system.
  • There is rigorous procedure involved, including controlled conditions, reliable data collection and the attempt to disprove hypotheses.

Challenges include

  • India has amongst the highest disparities in police-citizens and judge-citizens ratios
  • Woefully inadequate number of forensic science laboratories (FSL)
  • Lack of adequate qualified personnel = often trials were delayed to non-receipt of FSL reports.
  • Lack of information on staffing from the labs

This means that India has inadequate state forensic facilities-

  • Takes an inordinate amount of time for the report to be prepared.
  • Often, forensic analysis is simply not conducted and the criminal justice system relies principally on witness statements.

In 2017, The Hindu reported that while the United Kingdom completes DNA testing on over 60,000 crimes annually, India with over 13 times the population completes such tests on less than 7,500 cases. The average pendency at each lab is huge.

The Way Forward

  • More investment in the establishment of FSL laboratories
  • Proper training and appointment of personnel adept at forensic methodologies
  • Reforms within our police to establish a trained and skilled detective cadre tasked with solving complex and heinous crimes.
  • Good quality training facilities, standards of accreditation and continuous education programmes for forensic experts.
  • Study of Forensic science as it evolves, as it is important to know which facets of the science are still credible and what methodologies must be discarded.

It is not more legislation and harsher punishments that will solve crimes, but well-trained forensic staff plying their craft in good quality laboratories that will aid our criminal justice system.

Source: Indian Express

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