Punjab and Haryana HC: Establish more forensic labs considering increase in the crime rate

Team SoOLEGAL 22 Sep 2022 3:45pm

Punjab and Haryana HC: Establish more forensic labs considering increase in the crime rate

New Delhi: The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ordered the States of Punjab and Haryana, and also the Union Territory of Chandigarh, to build cutting-edge Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) structures within a year.

A bench of Justices Sureshwar Thakur and NS Shekhawat expressed their distress about the paucity of personnel and resources for forensic analysis, which frequently resulted in acquittal orders solely due to testing delays and sample deterioration.

"The enormous increase in crime rate has not made a corresponding increase in the numbers of laboratories in the States of Punjab, Haryana, and, U.T., Chandigarh, which has but ultimately resulted in enormous delays occurring in testings' being done at the laboratories in the above States of Punjab, Haryana, and, U.T., Chandigarh. The further effect thereof is that, in some cases there being delay in the institution of reports under Section 173 Cr.P.C., before the judicially empowered Magistrate, resultantly in the offenders' claiming default bail," the Court stated.

According to the Court, the problem might be simply solved by making sure that the number of laboratory testing facilities is rapidly increasing at pace with the rising crime rates.

The order said, "therefore, this Court directs that all above shall, after collecting data about the backlog of materials/items to be tested, at the laboratories concerned, besides with a futuristic vision about increased tendency towards criminality in society, leading to an increase in crime rate, hence ensure but after obtaining all requisite approvals from the authorities concerned, that laboratories with state of art instrument(s)/equipment(s) become established within the territorial jurisdictions.”

The instructions were issued in an appeal against an acquittal order in favor of a man and a woman accused of poisoning the woman's husband to death.

The deceased's viscera (internal organs) were never sent to a laboratory for examination, so no cause of death report was ever produced in court.

The Court determined that because both accused married each other after the deceased died, the purpose for the crime was established, but in the utter lack of unflinching forensic evidence that proves the charge, they were accurately acquitted.

As a result, the Court ordered that labs with cutting-edge technology be built within a year of gathering data on the backlog of laboratories, taking into account the increased crime rate, and obtaining the required permission from concerned authorities.

Furthermore, because the appellant suffered as a result of the negligence of a police constable who failed to have the deceased's viscera tested, the court determined that he was entitled to ten lakh rupees in compensation and ordered the State to pay it.

Tagged: Punjab and Haryana High Court  
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