Suggestions of NHRC Webinar Panelists

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Suggestions of NHRC Webinar Panelists
Suggestions of NHRC Webinar Panelists

Citing “lack” of sufficient number of forensic laboratories and manpower to handle those facilities, human rights and crime investigation experts have recommended increasing such labs and introducing forensic study in MBBS course, officials said on Sunday. At a webinar hosted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), panelists provided a numerous of suggestions on the subject.

“A few days ago, we held an online seminar on the subject of forensic science, labs and the challenges involved. More than 190 participants attended the webinar, which included top officials from forensic labs in Delhi and Chandigarh. A number of suggestions were made by NHRC members and others,” a senior official of the rights panel said.

Other recommendations were filling up all vacant posts in forensic science laboratories, providing them with sufficient infrastructure and funds; bringing in uniformity under an SOP for conducting forensic examination, he mentioned. They also recommended introducing forensic law studies as an isolated course curriculum in integrated BSc (Forensic) LLB; and bringing greater professionalism in the photography and videography amid the process of post-mortem, the NHRC official stated.

Making post-mortem avital activity for medical professionals with proper orientation to the doctors about medico-legal procedures, and improving mortuary setup with proper equipment and environment to facilities conduct of post-mortem, were other suggestions from the participants, he specified.

“Given the huge participation in the program, we had asked some of the representative to send their suggestions later also. We will wait till this weekend perhaps and then collate all the suggestions and soon send it to the government of India, and even do follow-up on it,” the official said.

The webinar was divided into three thematic sessions including “Forensic Science set up in India: Forensic Ballistics & Speaker Identification” addressed by S K Jain Director cum Chief Forensic Scientist DFSS, Delhi, “DNA Profiling & Forensic Importance” addressed by I Haque, Deputy Director, Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh and “Medico-Legal Investigation of Custodial Deaths in India – Journey since inception of NHRC” addressed by DrAdarsh Kumar of AIIMS, Delhi.

Other participants included, representatives of Chief Secretaries and DGPs from all states and UTs, central and state forensic labs, national forensic universities, and representatives from MHA, DFSS, BPR&D, NICFS, CBI, NIA, CBCID of states, and state police academies, the official said.

PunyaSalilaSrivastava, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs spoke on the huge number of funds given to states and central forensic labs for building capacities. She also spoke about how the forensic infrastructure is being built up under police modernization scheme and the Nirbhaya fund. More than Rs 200 crore has been sanctioned in the last two years for forensic science; she was quoted as saying by the NHRC official.

NHRC Member, justice P C Pant there was also an essential to create awareness among media and the general public about “not disclosing sensitive information and techniques” that can hinder the process of investigation and trial. Justice Pant said the NHRC has also been raising the issue of “increased pendency in forensic labs due to which cases pile up in trial courts and under trial prisoners languish in jails”.

“Growing dependence on forensic evidences and the dynamic nature of change in crime patterns with the surge of cyber-crime necessitates filling up of vacant posts urgently in forensic laboratories to clear large pendency, budgetary support training,” he said. NHRC Member, Jyotika Karla, said in order to ensure safety of women, it will be necessary to strengthen gathering of digital forensic evidence. She said that sexual assault kits need to be made available to all the forensic labs to facilities forensic examination of such cases.

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