Thursday, February 22, 2024

With DNA sample testing taking a year, Allahabad HC asks Uttar Pradesh govt if it doesn’t want speedy probe in criminal cases

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The Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government as to whether it wants to establish forensic labs at all commissionary headquarters in the state to facilitate fair, proper and speedy investigation and trial, considering the time taken to test DNA samples at forensic science laboratories.

The Division Bench of Justice Surya Prakash Kesarwani and Justice Gautam Chowdhary on October 8, while hearing the petition filed by Ambesh Kumar and another, observed that the sample for DNA test received on September 17, 2020 was examined and the report was submitted by the forensic science laboratory, Mahanagar, Lucknow on September 29, 2021. Thus, the forensic lab took more than one year to test the sample and to submit a report.

The sample was taken up out of turn for testing and preparation of report, probably for the reason of the order dated September 23, 2021 passed by the Court.

The bench noted, that total 9972 DNA test samples are pending in four forensic science laboratories in the State of Uttar Pradesh and the pendency at forensic science laboratory, Lucknow is 8927.

The Court has sought a reply from the UP Government in view of the fact that several persons are approaching the Court seeking direction for testing of samples and submission of the forensic reports which were collected one or two years ago.

Therefore, the Court directed the respondents to file personal affidavit with specific answers to the following questions:-

(i) Whether the state government wants fair and speedy investigation of criminal cases and fair and speedy conclusion of trials?

(ii) Whether forensic reports of samples collected, shall be helpful in investigation and speedy conclusion of trial ?

(iii) Whether non-submission of forensic reports within a time bound period may delay conclusion of the investigation of fair trial?

(iv) Whether the state government would like to establish forensic lab at all Commissionary headquarters in the state to facilitate fair, proper & speedy investigation and trial?

The Court held that the forensic test reports in criminal cases may prove to be an important piece of evidence for fair and speedy trial. It may also prove to be very helpful in effective and fair investigation. If the state of affairs are such that the samples are tested after one or two years, then it may not only delay investigation and fair trial but may also adversely affect the investigation and the trial. Such a state of affairs, looking into the seriousness of investigation and fair trial in criminal cases; cannot be allowed to continue, the court said. The matter is listed for further hearing on October 27.

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