DNA, CF equipment worth crores of rupees gathering dust in FSL during past over one yr

No focus on Justice Malimath Committee recommendations

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Dec 18: DNA and Cyber Forensic (CF) equipment worth crores of rupees have been gathering dust in Jammu and Kashmir Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) during the past over one year due to failure on the part of Government to engage experts for handling vital apparatus. This has also brought to the fore that no attention is being paid towards recommendations of Justice V S Malimath Committee on reforms in criminal justice system.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that equipment worth several crores of rupees for starting DNA and Cyber Forensic units in the Srinagar wing of the Jammu and Kashmir Forensic Science Laboratory were purchased in the February 2016 and accordingly one Deputy Superintendent of Police was deployed from Jammu and Kashmir Armed Police’s 7th Battalion in the month of April 2016 for coordination in setting up of the DNA and Cyber Forensic units.
Finally, the then Director General of Police K Rajendra commissioned DNA and Cyber Forensic units at FSL Headquarters at Bemina in Srinagar on October 25, 2016. In his speech on the occasion, the then DGP had stated that these units would play important role in the criminal justice system by providing timely opinion to the investigating agencies.
However, during the past over one year equipment of both the units have been gathering dust mainly because the Home Department has failed to engage experts for operating them and giving opinion to the investigating agencies, sources said while disclosing that only experts can properly conduct examination and reporting in both these fields.
“Though one DySP, three Sub-Inspectors and one constable have been deployed in the DNA unit yet their examination and reporting is not permissible under the law”, they said, adding “it is only the opinion of experts that is considered by the judiciary while dealing with the cases where DNA investigation and Cyber Forensic analysis is required”.
They further said, “as forensic science is witnessing continuous advancements after regular intervals across the world and reliance is placed on new equipment, nobody knows whether the equipment lying in DNA and Cyber Forensic units would be of any use in the near future”, adding “in this way crores of rupees spent on purchase of such equipment would become unfruitful expenditure”.
As per the norms, each discipline of any Forensic Science Laboratory should have one Deputy Director or Assistant Director, one Scientific Officer, two Assistant Scientific Officers, two Lab Assistants and two Lab Attendants. However, there is nobody to effectively run DNA and Cyber Forensic units in FSL Srinagar, sources further said.
Holding non-seriousness of the Government responsible for non-utilization of equipment worth crores of rupees during the past over one year, sources said, “when the last reorganization of FSL was conducted the strength of Police Department was 23,000 and now it has crossed 125000. But, the staff strength of FSL has considerably touched the lowest ebb”.
In view of increase in crime rate during the past three decades Government created a number of police stations and police posts. Even several courts of law were created in the light of this fact but one of the important pillars of justice delivery system—— FSL remained in oblivion throughout these years, sources regretted.
“It is a matter of serious concern that the vital organ of the justice delivery system has failed to receive due attention of all the concerned authorities in Jammu and Kashmir”, sources said while disclosing that even the recommendations of Justice V S Malimath Committee on reforms in criminal justice system have been completely ignored during the past many years.
The Committee had recommended augmentation of forensic science facilities across the country and the same received due attention at the Central Government level and in various States of the country. “What to talk of implementing the recommendations J&K Government has even failed to provide bare minimum staff to the Forensic Science Laboratory”, sources regretted.
It is pertinent to mention here that EXCELSIOR in its edition dated December 8 had exclusively highlighted that J&K FSL will face closure in next two years because of non-seriousness on the part of all the concerned authorities particularly the Home Department in filling up the vacant posts.
It was also revealed that FSL, which is 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.