Forensic probe to be made mandatory for offences attracting 6 yrs or more in jail

Through changes in concerned laws, the government is planning to make forensic investigation compulsory in all cases where the offence attracts a punishment of six years or more, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Sunday.

“The Narendra Modi government is… working towards making forensic investigation mandatory in all cases of offences punishable with imprisonment for more than 6 years,” Shah said.

He was addressing the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Home Affairs on the topic “Forensic Science Capabilities: Strengthening for Time bound and Scientific Investigation” in Kevadia, Gujarat. Shah was chairing the meeting.

According to the MHA, Shah called for the establishment of an independent Directorate of Prosecution and an independent Directorate of Forensic Science in each State/UT through proposed comprehensive amendments to the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code and the Indian Evidence Act.

Shah stressed on the need for investigating agencies to be one step ahead of criminals in view of the use of technology by them and said that the central government in collaboration with the state governments is working on a three-pronged approach to reforms in Police Investigation, Prosecution and Forensics.

He said that this is the right time to focus on technology-based and evidence-based investigation to achieve the targeted conviction rate, which he pegged at 90%.

According to the MHA, Shah “informed the members that the central government is providing funds to strengthen the forensic infrastructure across the country, including setting up of Mobile Forensic Science Units in each district, and these units will serve at least three blocks in a district”. He said steps are also being taken to standardize forensic equipment, instrument calibration, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) in all FSLs in the country for high quality forensic results.

The meeting was attended by MPs, Ministers of State for Home Nityanand Rai, Ajay Kumar Mishra, Nishith Pramanik and Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla along with senior officials of MHA, NCRB and National Forensic Science University. The meeting reviewed the forensic science capabilities available in the country, especially keeping in view the increasing dependence of the criminal justice system on forensic investigation.

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