SC slams Govt on tardy investigation methods

The court directed the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) to submit a report on availability of scientific tools to detect crimes. "Investigation of crimes in this country continues to be old fashioned, crude and at times, ineffective. The criminals on the other hand are making use of these deficiencies and go scot free.

"Western countries invariably make use of science and technology to investigate crimes, like DNA test, finger print test blood test, fibre test and computers," a Bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and T S Thakur observed in an order, while seeking the report.

The apex court passed the order while dealing with the appeal filed by Gajanan Dashrath Kharate challenging the life sentence imposed on him for murdering his father in Maharashtra. Though Kharate is said to have killed his father by smashing his head with a stone, the local police merely collected his finger prints, but not the matching prints from the stone.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment on the basis of circumstantial evidence and the High Court confirmed the sentence following which he appealed in the apex court. In the apex court the convict took the plea that there was no direct evidence and he cannot be convicted on mere circumstantial evidence. The Bench after perusal of the evidence noted that the investigating agency in the present case failed to observe even elementary skills of collecting the finger prints of the accused from the stone.

"This is yet another case in which the prosecution has, for whatever reasons, failed to adduce evidence that could have thrown considerable light on the circumstances in which the alleged murder was committed.

"However, the investigating agency did not take any steps to have the finger print of the accused who is none other than the son of the deceased taken from the said weapon of offence," the  Bench observed. The apex court said that there are a number of cases in which the investigating agencies have failed to collect finger prints, send firearms and their remnants to the ballistic experts, or avail latest DNA technology in detecting crimes.

"It is in in the above back drop that we consider it proper to direct the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, New Delhi to submit a preliminary report about the availability of the facilities for providing scientific support to the investigating agencies in the matter of detection of crime.

"The Director Central Forensic Science Laboratory will do the needful and enumerate resources that his laboratory and other forensic laboratories in India have in terms of equipment or scientifically trained man power," the apex court in its order. It asked the Solicitor General to assist the court in the matter.

The apex court further asked the Maharastra Director General of Police to explain the steps taken to train its investigating officers in scientific investigations for detection of crimes.

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