1,050 cases pending at forensic sciences lab

India on 08 October 2014
Location : Maharashtra | Source : Indian Express. Image Source: Indian Express

The regional forensic sciences lab at Pune has over 1,050 cases of forensic examination pending, with over 850 of them of biological analysis, in spite of the recent “clearance of the backlog”. Police have questioned the delays, saying this hampers investigation.

Forensic analysis is helpful in the investigation of cases and also forms an important aspect of the legal procedure that follows. Toxicology analysis, biological analysis, DNA tests, viscera analysis, psychological examination, ballistic examination, cyber forensic analysis and Tape Authentication and Speaker Identification (TASI) provide important clues in a probe.

In a recent government resolution (GR), the state has slammed forensic labs across the state for giving “viscera preserved, decision reserved” noting on the postmortem reports in several cases and then delaying the analysis, in some cases for more than an year.

According to the statistics mentioned in the same GR, as of January 1, 2014, there were 75,149 pending cases in the forensic sciences labs across Maharashtra. M K Malve, Director, Directorate of Forensic Science Laboratories, said: “We had an acute staff crunch till 2013. But we asked the government to give additional staff. We were given some new staffers on contract basis and pending cases were cleared.” 

According to the data, between January 2013 and July 2014, the directorate disposed of 2,71,323 cases, which included both pending and fresh cases. The latest data, however, shows there are still over 10,000 pending cases across Maharashtra. This include over 1,050 at the Pune regional lab, of which over 850 are of biological analysis. A senior officer with the Pune police said: “The delay in viscera analysis delays the very decision on the cause of death. There have been cases in which results came after over six months. The reports coming after so much of delays are also often inconclusive. 

Delays in ballistic analysis of weapons or bullets have in many cases resulted in the accused getting bail. Cases of rape, suicide and murder also take a hit as accused walk free in a lot of cases. Several cases of cheating are also pending for want of cyber analysis or the TASI examination report.” 

An officer with the state Criminal Investigation Department said: “We must understand that this is a systemic flaw. In many cases, cops commit mistakes, many times serious ones, in the collection of samples. Then there are lapses in the transport of the samples. We must understand that taking the viscera to the lab is the responsibility of the police. Further, there is no system for effective communication between labs and the police machinery.” 

Talking to Newsline, a police officer of the DCP rank said: “The High Court has recently expressed its concern over the delays in the forensic analysis. The solution to this is to have laboratories at the district level. At present, we have five regional labs at Aurangabad, Nagpur, Pune, Nashik and Amravati, other than the central lab in Mumbai. We should have mini-labs at district level leaving only specialised tests to be performed at the regional labs.” 

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