FSL faces acute staff crunch

With nearly 70 per cent posts vacant, and several major areas of investigation being rerouted to neighbouring states, Bangalore-based Karnataka State Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) is struggling to meet the rising demands from crime detection agencies.

The FSL at Madivala has been understaffed since its inception and as a result, subsequent promotions of personnel and modernisation have been withheld. An FSL official said: “We have some of the best staff. But the government has not been keen to clear their dues. Even technology upgrading in crucial areas such as DNA examination are withheld due to bureaucratic hurdles and lack of funds.”

While FSL boasts of several specialised divisions, the State FSL has been operating with a mere 46 personnel. As many as 95 posts are vacant in the laboratory. The staff shortage has not only overburdened the existing personnel, but has also resulted in increase of backlog.

At present, out of 85 vacancies for assistant scientific officer, only 16 have been filled. Of 34 vacancies for scientific officer, only 16 are filled. Likewise, of the 17 required posts of assistant director, only seven have been filled. None have been posted to five vacant posts of deputy directors. Even the post of director of the Laboratory was lately given as additional charge to Hemanth Nimbalkar, Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Internal Security Division.

The official said, “most times, we are forced to redirect cases involving lie detection, brain mapping and narco analysis to FSLs elsewhere since we don’t have skilled manpower to probe into such highly specialised field.”

A senior scientist from Central Forensic Science Laboratory, New Delhi, said while globally, forensic science facilities are well equipped to assist the judiciary in a non-partisan manner, in India it is a fearful trend that most FSLs are not only understaffed, but run on minor allocation from police budget. It is essential FSLs must have their own budget and human resource for conducting investigations.

DIG Hemanth, however, said recruitment has been taken up and tenders for procuring modern equipment have been called.

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