By meghna at 8 April, 2010, 10:26 pm
The forensic technology has played an integral role in solving criminal cases. D.N.A (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) tests, first discovered by Prof. Alec Jeffreys in 1985 in England has now become a credible source for identifying a person with the help of his blood, hair, sperm, muscle, nerve or tissue sample. Sometimes when the victims resist, they scratch their attackers, in such cases skin cells underneath the victim’s fingernails are extracted to identify the criminal. Compared to a blood test, the possibility of a D.N.A finger printing going wrong is one in 30,000 million.
D.N.A fingerprinting: – How is it done?
- Specimens are collected from the crime scene.
- The DNA is isolated and cut to match against other samples.
- Subsequently, the strands are placed on a gel and an electric current passed through it
- The samples are then matched with the existing records of offender, arrested people and suspects.
DNA profiling narrows the list of suspects that authorities need to work through. The FBI commented that DNA profiling allows them to dismiss one-third of rape suspects because the DNA samples do not match. Authorities recognize the possibility of specimens being planted at crime scenes, and therefore continue to investigate the crime based on motive, weapon, testimony, and other clues in order to more accurately solve the case.
Law Regarding D.N.A testing in India as compared to other countries :-
India has no specific legislation or provision related to D.N.A testing. There is no provision under the Hindu Marriage Act, Indian Evidence Act, CrPc or CPC which a party could be compelled to submit one’s blood sample for examination. In such cases the court is bound to invoke Section 151, C.P.C for giving appropriate directions in the larger interest of Justice. Fortunately the courts have been instrumental in considering D.N.A tests as credible evidence from 1989.
However, countries like Australia, Canada and U.S.A have specific legislation related to DNA forensics.
The (Canada) D.N.A Identification Act, 1998 provides for the constitution of National D.N.A databanks. The act empowers judge to order persons for designated offences to provide D.N.A samples to derive D.N.A profile. The databanks help the investigative agencies in eliminating or identifying suspects or detecting serial offenders. U.K. Criminal Justice Act, 1995; provides that a blood sample for a D.N.A test may be taken forcibly by a court.
Loopholes in the present Legal System:-
1. It is on the discretion of the courts to consider D.N.A tests as a conclusive proof.
2. India has less number of D.N.A experts as compared to other developed countries. Moreover they are deprived of proper training, adequate laboratories, professional respect and perks.
3. The police is lacks the requisite knowledge of evidence collection from crime site. Most of the time the evidence is either ignored or destroyed.
4. The judges and lawyers lack forensic acumen and can be manipulated.
5. Even if evidence is send for D.N.A testing, the laboratories like F.S.L never produce the forensic reports on time.
6. Unlike Canada and Australia, we do not have a provision for National D.N.A Data bank.
7. Forcible blood test for D.N.A testing is not available in India.
8. It is often contended that the D.N.A testing violates the right to privacy of an individual.
9. Post-convict D.N.A tests are not recognized under the Indian law.
10. The power to issue directions for conducting D.N.A tests entirely rests on the court.
India definitely requires legislation in this regard. A D.N.A specialist must be given the status of an expert. They should be provided with adequate training and equipment. The number of laboratories must be increased. Moreover law students, lawyers, police and judges must obtain some official training and knowledge in D.N.A testing. The generation of forensic reports must be made time-bound. A D.N.A test must be not considered violation of individual’s right to privacy guaranteed under the constitution. There is a need for constitution of a National D.N.A data bank in the country. Before granting the right to D.N.A testing to post-convict, it must be ensured that the same is not misused by the prisoners.