Cases piling up due to manpower, equipment shortage
JAMMU, July 4: Notwithstanding the fact that forensic science plays vital role in criminal justice system, a proposal to infuse new lease of life in the J&K Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) is gathering dust in the Home Department during the past quite long time as a result of which threat of becoming completely defunct is looming large over this vital organization.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that vide Communication No. Prov-II-FSL-01/2018-19/27592 dated April 9, 2018, Police Headquarters conveyed to the Joint Director, Forensic Science Laboratory that the Police Headquarters was in the process of furnishing comprehensive proposal to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for up-gradation of J&K FSL on the pattern of FSL Gujarat/Delhi.
Accordingly, the Joint Director was asked to furnish a detailed proposal which should include tentative financial implications on account of required infrastructure and manpower etc.
Vide Communication No.DFSL/Estt/Promotion-SO/2018/961 dated April 25, 2018 the Joint Director Forensic Science Laboratory submitted a proposal to the Principal Secretary to Government, Home Department for filling up of available vacancies and removal of long standing stagnation in the J&K FSL. Even a detailed proposal for augmentation of FSL was also submitted.
After hectic persuasion, all the Assistant Scientific Officers who were placed as Scientific Officers in their own pay and grade in the year 2012 and had filed various writ petitions in the court of law against their colleagues challenging their seniority have agreed to withdrawn their cases, the Joint Director said in the communication.
“If the proposal meets the approval of the competent authority this would put an end to the seniority dispute of the employees which has been haunting the organization for the last three decades”, read the communication, the copy of which is available with EXCELSIOR.
It has also been mentioned that the clearance of proposal would certainly infuse new lease of life in the organization, which otherwise in the absence of resolution of this dispute, would become defunct as most of the Scientific Officers are attaining the age of superannuation in the next couple of years.
“With no fresh recruitment being undertaken, owing to the dispute the organization would end up in complete chaos and confusion which would impair its performance. Moreover, resolution of this dispute would enable J&K FSL to fill all 18 vacant posts against 19 sanctioned posts in Gazetted Cadre and 47 vacant posts against sanctioned 151 posts in Non-Gazetted Cadre”, the Joint Director said in the communication.
However, the proposal has not been cleared by the Home Department till date despite being aware of the fact that dearth of manpower is leading to piling of cases and delay in furnishing of forensic opinion to the investigating agencies, sources said while disclosing that around 4000 cases are pending in different divisions of the FSL.
“During the past many decades the officers of FSL are retiring one after another but there is no addition in the manpower by way of recruitment. Moreover, no new equipment has been provided to the FSL since 2005 although across the country FSLs are being continuously equipped with advanced tools”, they said while disclosing that there is only one officer in almost all the divisions of the FSL and the situation is worst in Jammu FSL.
The non-serious approach of the Home Department is notwithstanding the fact that Clause 4(2) of J&K Forensic Science Laboratory Service Recruitment Rules clearly state that Government shall, at the interval of every five year, re-examine the strength and composition of the cadre of the service and make such alternations as are required to update it.
As per the augmentation proposal, there is additional requirement of at least 11 Scientific Officers to effectively run Forensic Chemistry, Narcotics and Toxicology, Physics, Ballistics, Biology, Serology, Documents, Training and Finger Print Divisions in the FSL. Moreover, there is also requirement of adequate number of Assistant Scientific Officers.
It is hoped that under Governor’s rule steps will be initiated to infuse new lease of life in FSL realizing the need and importance of providing analytical reports promptly and effectively to the investigating agencies.