Game for a tough, thrilling future?

Game for a tough, thrilling future?

It is always intriguing to watch on telly Criminal Minds, CSI or our very own desi CID.

The way the investigators solve a murder mystery generates curiosity, thrill and a sense of excitement. But is it so in real life too? 

To experience that thrill in life, many students are looking forward to studying forensic sciences, with some universities even introducing this course in their curricula.

Recently Delhi University also introduced BTech in Forensic Sciences, much to the joy of students with an ‘investigative’ bent of mind. However, the question is do these courses give us the future that we expect?

“Initially there were two institutes offering this course in the country. Now there are many universities who have introduced this course like Gujarat and Delhi University,” says Dr Rajendra Singh, director, The Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL).

CFSL is a scientific department under administrative control of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). It undertakes the scientific analysis of crime exhibits referred by CBI, Delhi Police, the judiciary and vigilance departments of ministries.

He doesn’t deny the fact that considering the increasing number of students who are opting for this course  vacancies in government departments have remained limited.

Mentioning about CFSL, he says, “Besides Delhi, there are only three branches of CFSL in the country – Chandigarh, Hyderabad and Kolkata. Now, in the coming years three new laboratories will be opened in Guwahati, Bhopal and Pune.”

He also points out, “There are forensic laboratories in each State and plans are to
extend to district level. All these steps will definitely increase the vacancy in the
coming time.”

Undoubtedly, the fun of being a forensic expert lies in working with government
laboratories and handling interesting cases.

“It is an irony that even those who are MSc, fail to get placements in government-run laboratories,” says Dr Singh, pointing that many a time it becomes difficult for students to look for other options as they specialised in one subject.

Aspirants who desperately want to be part of the forensic team of CBI, need to clear the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam.

“Generally PhD candidates are preferred, who have also cleared the UPSC exam. They are directly appointed as class one officers, just like any other government officer,” clarifies Dr Singh. Thereafter, you are posted in different departments like computer forensics, serology, fingerprint, forensic psychology and more.

There is another aspect to forensic sciences. By pursuing education in medical sciences one can play an important part in medico-legal cases.

SK Verma, professor, forensic medicine, University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS), says, “Medical graduates also play an important role in forensic examination, especially in medico-legal cases like sexual assault, accidents, post-mortem examination and other such issues.”

But he is also of the opinion that the course does not come up with flourishing opportunities. “Considering that a majority of cases are pending because of the delay on the part of forensic team to prepare the report, there are chances the situation will improve in the coming time, especially given their proposals to increase the number of forensic laboratories in the country,” says Verma.

He draws attention to priva­te forensic labs which are doing good business these days. “There are many people who don’t want to go through police investigation for paternity dispute, personal rivalry or theft. Such people are hiring private forensic experts.

It is another option for students.”

Meanwhile, the CFSL director is of the opinion that a forensic science graduate should pursue law. “We daily visit courts where we notice lawyers with limited or no knowledge about forensic investigation which affects a case. By doing law and forensic science course, one can be an expert in handling criminal cases,” says Singh.