Just 60 forensic experts and 25 labs to handle 24,923 rape cases in India

by jeeg 25. September 2013 22:58

The government’s failure to set up new forensic labs and insufficient trained manpower is causing significant delay in criminal investigations. Today, the country has only 25 forensic labs with just 60 forensic experts at work, according to a parliamentary Standing Committee report.

Genetic materials like blood, semen, tooth and bone are analysed at forensic labs in order to to establish a crime. In the December 16 rape case too, the accused were held guilty on the basis of DNA profiling.

The number of rape cases have gone up from 21,397 in 2009 to 24,923 in 2012, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). This means that on an average, there is one expert to oversee 413 rape cases per year.

The country needs more than 1,000 forensic DNA experts to tackle the rising criminal cases, noted the Committee on Empowerment of Women in its report titled ‘Victims of Sexual Abuse and Trafficking and Their Rehabilitation.’

The home ministry in its reply to the committee said that “the number of DNA centres in the country are inadequate to handle the large number of rape cases.”

There are nearly 1,500 cases pending with the Central Forensic Science Laboratory in New Delhi alone, said an official on anonymity. “The government is not bothered to recruit people despite huge shortage of experts,” the official added.

A representative of the Delhi Police said that they have written to the home department regarding the lack of forensic science laboratories in the city. “The condition in the state is very bad. I usually get DNA results in four to five months.

If it is made available within 15 days, the chargesheet could be filed within a month,” said the representative. “In all rape cases, DNA profiling is a must because it is the conclusive proof. However, this facility is very poor here.”

Experts say that any delay in submission of genetic material to the laboratory leads to their degradation. In many cases, samples are not collected and transported properly which results into contamination of the sample. Hence, fresh collection of genetic material delays the process further.

“DNA profiling is an important evidence to fill a chargesheet in rape cases and any delay in it will lead to delay in justice to the victim,” said Prakash Singh, former director general of police of Assam and subsequently of Uttar Pradesh.

Gangadhar S Patil, DNA India  


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