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Increase number of labs, start forensic study in MBBS: NHRC webinar panellists suggest

Citing “lack” of sufficient number of forensic laboratories and manpower to deal with these amenities, human rights and crime investigation specialists have prompt ramping up such labs and introducing forensic study in MBBS course, officers said on Sunday.

At a webinar hosted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), panellists made a slew of features on the topic.

“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.

The members broadly underlined that the nation “lacks adequate number of forensic laboratories and manpower to handle” such amenities, and provided a number of important features to deal with the difficulty, he said.

“Increasing the number of forensic labs in proportion to the number of cases to examine to avoid delay in administering justice; introducing forensic study and training in MBBS course; creating post of a district medico-legal expert, were among the key suggestions made by them,” the official said.

Other features have been filling up all vacant posts in forensic science laboratories, offering them with enough infrastructure and funds; bringing in uniformity under an SOP for conducting forensic examination, he added.

They additionally prompt introducing forensic legislation research as a separate course curriculum in built-in BSc (Forensic) LLB; and bringing larger professionalism in the pictures and videography in the course of the course of of post-mortem, the NHRC official said.

Making post-mortem an important exercise for medical professionals with correct orientation to the medical doctors about medico-legal procedures; and enhancing mortuary setup with correct tools and surroundings to amenities conduct of post-mortem, have been different features from the members, he said.

“Given the huge participation in the programme, 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 periods together with “Forensic Science set up in India: Forensic Ballistics & Speaker Identification” addressed by S Okay 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 Dr Adarsh Kumar of AIIMS, Delhi.

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

Jaideep Govind, NHRC Secretary General said, the target of the webinar was to sensitise all of the stakeholders in regards to the functioning of the important fields of forensic science, particularly in the context of custodial deaths circumstances, encounter deaths circumstances and investigation of circumstances involving critical human rights violations.

“The Commission deals with a number of cases related to deaths in police and judicial custody as well as encounters. The forensic report is one of the important reports, among others, to decide the case of human rights violation,” he said in the course of the webinar.

Punya Salila Srivastava, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs spoke on the big quantity of funds given to states and cenntral forensic labs for constructing capacities.

She additionally spoke about how the forensic infrastructure is being constructed up under police modernisation 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 additionally a have to create consciousness amongst media and most people about “not disclosing sensitive information and techniques” that may hinder the method of investigation and trial.

Justice Pant said the NHRC has additionally been elevating the difficulty of “increased pendency in forensic labs due to which cases pile up in trial courts and undertrial 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 make sure security of girls, will probably be essential to strengthen gathering of digital forensic proof.

She said that sexual assault kits should be made accessible to all of the forensic labs to amenities forensic examination of such circumstances.

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