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FSL on verge of closure

J&K Forensic Science Laboratory is on the verge of closure, thanks to ingrained apathy of concerned authorities. This is contrary to what the status of this laboratory should have been in normal course of things. In a situation of widespread militancy in the State for nearly three decades, it was expected that the Forensic Laboratory will have become highly efficient in technical sense of the term and that only well trained personnel would be manning it because of the load of work coming down on its shoulders as a result of ongoing militancy in the State.
The performance and status of the Laboratory is totally disappointing and if the present situation is allowed to continue, the FSL may have to be closed down by 2020 for want of technical expertise. And if non technical cops have to run the show, as is almost happening at the moment, then that will mark the end of the organization. How sad that when the world has gained more knowledge of dealing with crimes and the Forensic Science has been completely modernized, our State is clinging to old and outdated methodology and functionality making a mockery of forensic tests. FSL the sole provider of Forensic and Advisory Services to the Law Enforcement agencies on varied subjects, has been rendered as dumping yard for those cops who don’t have any technical expertise but are enjoying good relations with the senior police officers. While FSL is considered of crucial importance in crime investigation, and as such should have been equipped with highly expert technical staff, non technical cops are posted to it who are more of a show rather than real functionaries. It is intriguing that 18 posts of Assistant Scientific Officers, six posts of Deputy Directors and one post of Joint Director have been lying vacant since long time. Moreover, half of the available staff has been drawn from various police wings and more so from armed wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Police who don’t have any expertise in handling any sort of technical task in the Forensic Science Laboratory. The posts of biology, finger print and explosive experts are lying vacant in Jammu unit of FSL since long. The post of explosive expert had fallen vacant in 2012 while as that of finger print expert in 2014. In absence of this expertise the material is sent to Srinagar for analysis and report and that practice take a long time thus causing inordinate delay in meeting out justice to the people. Many of the experts handling crucial aspects of the FSL will be retiring by 2020. The FSL has not created cadres in the field who would be recruited to fill the vacancies caused by the superannuation of the present staff whenever their time of retiring comes. There is going to be a vacuum in the FSL which means that it will be heading towards closure. A glaring irregularity which has come to our notice through reliable sources is that a former Director General of Police had posted all his PSOs to the FSL days before he demitted office with no purpose but to oblige them and give them posting of their choice.This is an example of how the senior most and responsible police officers treat the FSL.
In the light of this situation, it is a matter of great concern for the Home Department that feeders are provided for the FSL. Professionals should be selected or identified for undergoing training at recognized institutions in the country on various branches of forensic science so that we have the expertise ready at hand to take over when the time of superannuation of serving experts comes. For this we need proper planning at the level of Home Department. But if the Police Department chooses to be complacent, the day will not be far off when this important agency of investigations into criminal cases will have to be closed down to the detriment of justice to people.

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