Consentia on Multidisciplinary Research

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study

  1. Introduction: – The courts generally adopt two methods to find a truth of an accusation or in resolving disputes, namely inquisitorial and adversarial.

Although they have a fundamental difference, they both aim to find the truth in all the cases. A court, it must be remembered, will always strive to find the truth in accusations and disputes even in politically motivated prosecutions. The emphasis on ‘always’ is to signify that the courts want the truth, as best as it can be found. Help is taken by the court in various forms and authorities such as the forensic experts and experts in various fields who pitch in their skills and knowledge, thereby assisting in establishment of truth. However there are exceptions resulting in miscarriage of justice. Forensic experts play a major role in assisting the courts in reaching the conclusion by providing them as much as objective evidence as possible. Such evidence can be pivotal in crimes where usually only the perpetrator and victim are present, and are certain of what happened. For example in rape cases only the victim and the rapist are actually aware of the actual happenings, in the murder cases there is only the assailant who knows for certain as to the occurrences.1

 Forensic science describes the science of associating people, places and things involved in criminal activities; these scientific disciplines assist in investigating and adjudicating criminal and civil cases. So overall we can say that forensic science has now become the one of the limb of judicial system.

2. Need of the Study: – As I mentioned in introduction that forensic science

has now become the one of the limb of judicial system, it would be very

difficult to imagine investigation in criminal cases without the help of forensic science. So to understand the importance of forensic science in law is not mere an optional subject but it’s now become a mandatory or rather demand of the time. Because forensic science today makes an important contribution to the operation of the Criminal Justice System providing evidence which could help to decide the guilt of a suspect. With the help of evidences collected through forensic science it becomes easier to decide the cases accurately. So the

1

Wilson wall, “Forensic Science in Court, The Role of Expert Witness” U.K., John Wiley & Sons Ltd .,2009, pp

ix

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 2

importance of forensic science in law is like examining a patient with the help

of test report.

  1. Research Question: – How Forensic Science has become the limb of

Criminal Justice System?

  1. Methodology: – The research methodology which the researcher proposes

to adopt will be Doctrinal i.e. the form of research in which the facts and

information are already available and the researcher needs to make the critical analysis and evaluation of the material. Major part of research material will be taken from the library of Symbiosis Law School, Noida.

  1. Scope of the study: – This project is covering all aspects of forensic

science which are related to law starting from the Roman Empires and with the

help of significances of physical evidences, branches of forensic science and relevant provisions of law. But I restricted myself with few sections of different laws and few branches of forensic science and their evidentiary value in the court of law. Through this project author (Gyanendra Kumar) tried to elucidate the connection or rather tried to find out the bridge between forensic science and law.

  1. Analysis of Topic:
  2. 1 History and General Idea about Forensic Science with Law:

Forensic science plays an important role in the investigation of serious crimes.

Surprisingly, while the discipline of forensic science as a discipline is only about 100 years old, there are traces of science being used in investigation dates far back to times of the Roman Empires. The dependence on use of scientific practices in crime scene investigation by the courts and law

enforcement agencies has increased heavily in the past decade. 2

Identification by fingerprints was one of the first achievements in this field. In

the 19th century, it was discovered that almost any contact between a finger and a fixed surface left a latent mark that could be made visible by a variety of procedures. It was accepted in 1894 by the Troup Committee in England that no two individuals have the same set of finger prints and that it was the best

2

“Forensic Science: A Modern History; The Use of Scientific Principles in Criminology in Recent” Retrieved

on February 07, 2014 from http://criminologycareers.about.com/od/Criminology_Basics/a/Modern-History-of-

Forensic-Science.html

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 3

means of personal identification. This was a proposition which was never

In 1900 another committee recommended the use of fingerprints for criminal

identification. Fingerprint evidence was first accepted in an Argentine court in the 1890s and in an English court in 1902. Many other countries soon adopted systems of fingerprint identification as well.

Historically, searching fingerprint collections was a time-consuming manual

task, relying on various systems of classification. However, with development of computerized data bases in 1980s made electronic storage and rapid finding of searching of fingerprints enabled researchers to match prints much more quickly.

In the present times a broad range of other scientific techniques are available

to law enforcement agencies attempting to identify suspects or establish beyond doubt the connection between a suspect and a crime. Due to being reliably available in the late 1980s, DNA fingerprinting of biological evidence (e.g., hair, sperm, and blood) helped in excluding a suspect absolutely or establishing his guilt with a very high degree of probability. The substances such as fibres, paper and glass can yield considerable information under microscopic analysis. Using the scientific techniques, the substances, fibres discovered on the victim or at the scene of the crime can be tested to establish similarity between them and the victim and the suspect. The authenticity of the documents can to established to be true or forgeries based on the evidence that the paper on which they were written was manufactured by a technique not available at the time to which it allegedly dates. Experts by the using the refractive index also helps in showing whether the given item or fragment of the glass was part of a particular batch manufactured at a particular time or place.3 All of these advances came fast and combined to bring a renewed zeal for science within the realm of criminology.

3

“The role of forensic science” Retrieved on February 07, 2014 from

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/142953/crime/53437/The-role-of-forensic-science

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 4

  1. 2 What is Forensic Science in terms of law?

Forensic science is the use of science in the service of the law. Sciences used

in forensics include any discipline that can aid in the collection, preservation and analysis of evidence such as chemistry (for the identification of explosives), engineering (for examination of structural design) or biology (for DNA identification or matching). A forensic scientist is expert in any technical field and can provide an analysis of the evidence, witness testimony on examination results, technical support and even training in his or her

specialized area.4

Forensic       science      methodologies    and      applications     across      disciplines,

particularly when viewed in terms of the results they provide in legal investigations and fact finding, are revealing themselves as a powerful energy

in a variety of expeditions in search of justice.5

  1. 3 What is the value of Crime Scene?

A crime scene often is rich in information that reveals the nature of the

criminal activity and the identities of those persons involved. Perpetrators and victims may leave behind blood, saliva, skin cells, hair, fingerprints, footprints, tire prints, clothing fibres, digital and photographic images, audio data, handwriting, and the residual effects and debris of arson, gunshots, and unlawful entry.

  1. 4 What is Evidence?

Evidence is critical to a trial: It provides the foundation for the arguments the

attorneys plan to offer. Evidence is viewed as the impartial, objective and sometimes stubborn information that leads a judge or jury to their conclusions. It can be complicated thing, and much goes into getting g evidence ready before it can go into court.

4

“Forensic Sciences & Forensics: Science in Law” Retrieved on February 11, 2014 from

http://www.legallanguage.com/legal-articles/forensic-sciences/

5

Cyril H. Wecht, John T. Rago, “Forensic Science and Law: Investigative Applications in Criminal, Civil and


Family Justice” Boca Raton, CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group, 2005, pp 36

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 5

Evidence can be defined as information – whether in the form of personal

testimony, the language of documents, or the production of material objects- that is given in a legal investigation, and that makes a fact or proposition more

or less likely.6

  1. 5 What is the Significance of Physical Evidence?

Physical evidence is extremely useful and often the decisive factor in

establishing the actual culprit. It can provide vital information about the culprit, his clothing, occupation, habits, age, etc. An examination of the physical evidence collected from the crime scene, the culprit and the victim

often provide the following useful information. :

 To establish that a particular crime has actually been taken place on the basis

of dead body, injuries found on the body, broken lock, door, window, wall, etc.

 Identification of the culprit and the victim on the basis of finger, foot, shoe

prints, DNA examination, etc.

 Linkage between the culprit and his weapon and the victim with the help of

blood, semen, hair, bullet, etc.

 Presence of the culprit at crime scene by fingerprint, footprint, shoeprint, tyre

mark, tool-mark, blood, empty cartridges, soil, etc.

 It can exonerate the innocent and corroborate the victim’s testimony.

 Verification of statements made by the victim, witnesses and the culprit by the

reconstruction of the crime scene.

 Modus operandi on the basis of location of the crime scene, mode of entry and

exit, type of weapon or force used and stolen property, etc.

 Suspect person when put to face to face with physical evidence is likely to

make confession.

 Provide direction of the investigation, particularly in hit and run cases, also in

cases where suspicious death takes place.

 Finally, physical evidence is convincingly considered and acknowledged by

the court of law.7

6

Houck M. Max, “Essential of Forensic Science” ‘Science versus Crime’, New Delhi, Viva Books Pvt. Ltd.,

2010, pp 42

7

Dr. Rao M. S., Dr. Maithil, “Crime Scene Management, A Forensic Approach”, New Delhi, Selective &

Scientific Books Publishers & Distributors, 2013, pp 45-46

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 6

  1. 7 Why Forensic Science is important?

The courts rely on science and forensic science experts in establishing a

connection between the substances found at the crime scene, victim and perpetrator. Analysis of forensic evidence is used in the investigation and prosecution of civil and criminal proceedings. Often, it can help to establish the guilt or innocence of possible suspects.

Forensic evidence is also used to link crimes that are thought to be related to

one another. For example, DNA evidence can link one offender to several different crimes or crime scenes (or exonerate the accused). Linking crimes helps law enforcement authorities to narrow the range of possible suspects and to establish patterns of for crimes, which are useful in identifying and prosecuting suspects.

Forensic scientists also work on developing new techniques and procedures for

the collection and analysis of evidence. In this manner, new technology can be used and refined not only to keep forensic scientist on the cutting edge of

science, but to maintain the highest standards of quality and accuracy.8

  1. 8 Value of Forensic Evidence:

According to Paul Kirk physical evidence cannot be wrong; it cannot perjure

itself; it cannot be wholly absent. Only in its interpretation can there be error. Only human failure to find, study and understand it can diminish its value. It is true today as it was when Paul Kirk was practicing forensic science. Forensic

evidence can: –

a) Prove a crime has been committed b) Establish key elements of a crime

c) Be the decisive element in determining guilt or innocence

d) Provide the lead to the perpetrator of a crime

e) Provide a link in a chain of circumstantial evidence

f) Corroborate other evidence

g) Test the statements of complainants, witnesses or suspects.

8

“Forensic Sciences & Forensics: Science in Law” Retrieved on February 11, 2014 from

http://www.legallanguage.com/legal-articles/forensic-sciences

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 7

The absence of physical evidence may also provide useful information. The

aim of a crime scene investigator should be not to overlook anything providing relevant information, which may contribute to solving the crime under investigation.

There are many forms of physical evidence that do not lend themselves to statistical evaluation as there is not the volume of data available that would support an estimate of the frequency in which a particular type of physical evidence might be encountered. The value of this type of evidence must be estimated ion the basis of experience.

Even though statistical data is lacking, it is possible to relate the particular observation of an event or item to experience, and therefore form an opinion as to the value of the evidence. A successful crime investigation is determined by

the results obtained.9

  1. 9 Case Studies: –

Illustration No. 1) During emergency, several houses demolished in Delhi,

slips were issued to the owners of demolished houses on the basis of which they could claim small plots, and there were several complaints regarding the issue of these slips. During investigation of these complaints it was found that some of the counterfoils of these slips issued by the concerned authority were identical amongst themselves with regard to thumb impression on them indicating something mysterious about the issue of slips. Specimen fingerprints (thumbs impressions) of the employees of the concerned development authority were asked for and compared. It was established that all fingerprints on the back of counterfoils were actually of the employees of the development authority thus a case involving fraud worth lakhs of rupees could

be solved with the identification of fingerprints thumb impressions.10

Illustration No. 2) Three explosions one after the other took place at Mumbai airport. Though there was no casualty or any substantial loss of property, it created panic. The forensic experts visited the spot and found out similarity of mechanism used for explosions in all cases thus establishing the involvement

9

Dr. Rao M. S., Dr. Maithil, “Crime Scene Management, A Forensic Approach”, New Delhi, Selective &

Scientific Books Publishers & Distributors, 2013, pp 37-38

10

Prof. Nath Surinder, Sehgal V.N., “Forensic Science & Its Related Issues“, New Delhi, SSB Publisher &

Distributors, 2012, pp

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 8

of the same group of persons in this terrorist act. Each of three time bombs

kept in rexin brief cases was assembled using time piece, battery of 6 dry cells, a tin containing gun powder and filament of a bulb (glass envelop broken) for

  1. 11

  1. 10 Branches of Forensic Science:
  2. 10.01 Biology Division: This is one of the most heavily worked divisions. It deals

with:

A. Examination of body fluids, namely: –

a. Blood b. Semen c. Saliva d. Urine e. Tears f. Sweat

B. Hair, fibre and wood Identification and comparison;

C. Examination of Human and animal bones, skeletal remains, teeth;

D. Examination of seeds, leaves and wood fragments;

E. Pollens, micro flora and diatoms;

F. Personal identification by superimposition;

G. Coordination with other institutes in the country for DNA testing and other

tests;

H. Cut marks on clothes;

  1. 10.02 Chemistry Division:

This division undertakes the following examinations / analyses:

a. Examination of petroleum products

b. Examination of construction materials – bricks, cement and concrete etc.

c. Examination of inflammable materials in suspected cases of arson and dowry

  1. 10.03 Physics Division:

This division is generally equipped with very modern and sophisticated

scientific instruments for rapid and precise analysis of physical clues such as:

11

Prof. Nath Surinder, Sehgal V.N., “Forensic Science & Its Related Issues“, New Delhi, SSB Publisher &

Distributors, 2012, pp 211

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                         Page 9

a. Examination of tool marks, comparison of telegraph copper wires, and

counterfeit coins, etc.

b. Examination of glass, paint chips and other contact traces in hit and run cases. c. Examination of postal bombs by X-ray Radiography.

  1. 10.04 Toxicology Division:

This division deals with:

a. The examination of viscera, stomach-wash, vomit etc. To determine poisons of

vegetable origin, inorganic salts and metals, synthetic drugs, pesticides, alcohol and other general poisons and their quantification.

b. Examination of powders, pills, capsules, syringes, vials etc.

c. Determination of alcohol in blood and urine in drunken driving cases.

  1. 10.05 Ballistic Division:

This division deals with the examination of all types of firearms and ammunitions to connect bullets and fired cartridge cases with a particular firearm to the exclusion of all others.

  1. 10.06 Lie Detection (Polygraphy):

The division conducts polygraphic test to find out whether a person is speaking the truth or telling a lie without using any force or third degree methods.

  1. 10.07 Serology Division:

The serology division undertakes the following examinations: –

a. Examinations of articles stained with blood, grouping of blood, DNA

profiling, etc.

b. Determination of paternity through blood groups and DNA.

c. Individualization of blood and bloodstains based on enzymatic studies using

latest techniques.

  1. 10.08 Fingerprinting Division:

This division helps in developing the fingerprints at the scene of crime and

undertakes the comparison of fingerprints on documents and other objects.

  1. 10.09 Photography and Scientific Aids Division:

This division carries out secret photography, general photography and crime- scene photography. It also assists the IOs in secret tape recording.

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                       Page 10

  1. 10.10 Document Division:

This Division deals with the examination of all types of questioned documents

and handwritten, type written or printed matter and computer printouts to give

opinions: –

a. Comparison of questioned writing and signatures with known standard writing

in order to establish genuineness or otherwise.

b. Identification of make, models or age of the typewriter used in typing the

c. Detection of forged lottery tickets, railway tickets, air tickets, match tickets

and currency notes etc.

d. Determination of age of ink and paper.12

6.11

Forensic Science and Legal Provision in India: – It will become too lengthy if I will include all the relevant laws with forensic science, because there are lot of sections from different laws like I.P.C, Cr.P.C, Indian Evidence Act, and Indian Contract Act, which are connected directly or indirectly with the forensic science. So I would like to introduce few relevant laws with forensic

science. These are: –

   Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973

Section 29313:- This section makes provision for accepting in evidence reports

made by certain Government Scientific Experts. It applies to the report of a “Chemical Examiner or Assistant Chemical Examiner” to the Governemnt, Chief Inspector of Explosives, Director of the Finger Print Bureau, Director,

12

Prof. Nath Surinder, Sehgal V.N., “Forensic Science & Its Related Issues“, New Delhi, SSB Publisher &

Distributors, 2012, pp 2-7

13

Reports of certain Government scientific experts


(1) Any document purporting to be a report under the hand of a Government scientific expert to whom this section applies, upon any matter or thing duly submitted to him for examination or analysis and report in the course of any proceeding under this Code may be used as evidence in any inquiry, trial or other proceeding under this Code.

(2) The Court may, if it thinks fit, summon and examine any such expert as to the subject- matter of his report.

(3) Where any such expert is summoned by a Court and he is unable to attend personally, he may, unless the Court has expressly directed him to appear personally, depute any responsible officer working with him to attend the Court, if such officer is conversant with the facts of the case and can satisfactorily depose in Court on his behalf.

(4) This section applies to the following Government scientific experts, namely:-

(a) any Chemical Examiner or Assistant Chemical Examiner to Government;

(b) the Chief Inspector of- Explosives;

(c) the Director of the Finger Print Bureau;

(d) the Director, Haffkeine Institute, Bombay;

(e) the Director [Deputy Director or Assistant Director] of a Central Forensic Science Laboratory or a State

Forensic Science Laboratory;

(f) the Serologist to the Government.

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                       Page 11

Dy, Director or Assistant Director of a Central Forensic Science Laboratory or

a State Forensic Science Laboratory and the Serologist to the Government besides Director of Haffkein Institute, Bombay.

   Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Section 4514: – This section is an exception to the rule as regards the exclusion

of opinion evidence. Opinions of experts are relevant upon a point of (a) foreign law, (b) science, (c) art, (d) identity of handwriting and (e) finger impressions.

Both under this section and section 4715 the evidence is of an opinion, in the former by a scientific comparison and in the latter on the basis of familiarity resulting from frequent observations and experience. In either case the Court must satisfy itself by such means as are open that the opinion may be acted

  1. 16

6.12

Case Laws:

In the case of State of Himachal Pradesh v. Jai Lal,17 It is held, that, Section

45 of the Evidence Act, which makes opinion of experts admissible lays down, that, when the court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law or of science, or art, or as to identity of handwriting of finger impressions, the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law science or art or in questions as to identity of handwriting, or finger impressions are relevant facts. Therefore, in order to bring the evidence of a witness as that of an expert it has to be shown that he has made a special study of the subject or acquired a special experience therein or in other words that he is skilled and has adequate knowledge of the subject.

14

Opinions of experts: When the Court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law, or of science, or


art, or as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions, the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law, science or art, or in questions as to identity of handwriting or finger impressions are relevant facts. Such persons are called experts.


15

Opinion as to hand- writing, when relevant: When the Court has to form an opinion as to the person by


whom any document was written or signed, the opinion of any person acquainted with the handwriting of the person by whom it is supposed to be written or signed that it was or was not written or signed by that person, is a relevant fact. Explanation.– A person is said to be acquainted with the handwriting of another person when he has seen that person write, or when he has received documents purporting to be written by that person in answer to documents written by himself or under his authority and addressed to that person, or when, in the ordinary course of business, documents purporting to be written by that person have been habitually submitted to him.


16

17

Forest range Officer v. P. Mohammed Ali, AIR 1994 SC 120

State of Himachal Pradesh v. Jai Lal, (1999) 7 SCC 280

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                       Page 12

In another case of Gaudiya Mission v. Shobha Bose,18 Supreme Court has

advised the judges of the subordinate courts to requisition the services of the expert when they have to decide a case which involves some expertise. The dictum is sometimes misconstrued by some. The judges become experts

themselves or take up the role of ‘super experts’ or expert of experts.

Laxmi Devi v. State of Rajasthan,19 (use of ballistic experts report without formal proof) In the instant case, the expert report received from the FSL was not challenged before the Trial Court. Neither the prosecution nor the accused at any stage moved an application for summoning the expert and the Court also did not think it necessary to summon the expert as there as no ambiguity in it. It can, therefore, be used in evidence at trial it being report from the State F.S.L as mentioned in Section 293(4) (a) of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.

  1. Conclusion: In India the burden of proving a crime beyond doubt is on the

prosecution. The different agencies working for crime detection are police

officers, forensic scientist, medico legal doctors and judicial officers. But it is well known fact that most of the police investigators are confused to solve the mystery of heinous crime due to improper scientific knowledge about crime scene investigation and this is the foremost cause of concern for our criminal justice system. Because the crime scene is a treasure house of physical evidence that may be encountered. If such clues are examined with extreme deftness with the help of forensic expert it may pave the way for unveiling the mystery of any crime.

Scientific advancements in various branches of science have encouraged the

modern scientific techniques to provide quick solutions to a majority of problems of the human beings. Successful investigation of crime as well as fair administration of justice depends on the quality of evidence. If the quality of the evidence is poor, as has been the case with eyewitness testimony, the criminals manage to go unpunished. It was thought that there is an urgent need to expand Forensic Science facilities to improve the quality of evidence. With this aim in view, the Government of India prepared a model scheme in the year

18

19

Gaudiya Mission v. Sobha Bose, AIR 2008 SC 1012

Laxmi Devi v. State of Rajasthan, 1992 Cr. L.R. (Raj.) 103

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                       Page 13

1958 and decided to introduce science in the Indian Criminal Justice Delivery

System by setting up a chain of Forensic Science Laboratories all over the country. In such a situation the need of forensic science becomes an essential prerequisite on the part of the investigative agencies.

In many cases, the Apex Court and the High Courts have delivered their

judgments on the ground of forensic evidence presented by the forensic expert in the court of law after examining the level of relevancy with the case. Regarding the admissibility of forensic evidence in court of law, it varies with the type of evidence like for example, the admissibility of questioned documents would be different from the admissibility of Narco Analysis test and Polygraph test. In other word the certainty of forensic evidence will differ according to the type of evidence.

Hence the research question framed above is proved with the ending of this

conclusion that forensic science has become one of the limbs of criminal justice system.

  1. Recommendation:

 Workshop and Training for all Police officials

There is an urgent need of workshop and personal training of crime scene management for all police officials irrespective of their designation. Because firstly police who reaches the spot where crime took place and then their start investigation but some time they them self destroy the physical evidences unknowingly because they all are not well versed that how to manage the crime scene and collect as much evidence as possible.

 Need for an Independent Forensic Science Lab

Police, courts and other public sector bodies like banks, financial institutions who have to depend upon forensic services shall have to wait for the reports from Government Forensic Science Laboratories for several months to a few years.

Currently, the assistance of Government Forensic Labs is sought only by the police or the courts. Hence, those who would prefer not choosing the judicial route are at a dead end. Individuals and Institutions desirous of settling their family matters or internal disputes within their families or companies cannot

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                       Page 14

approach forensic laboratories. This is especially relevant in the cases of

corporate fraud, computer fraud, document frauds, identity theft, child paternity disputes, etc. where the parties involved prefer to keep the matter confidential for fear of loss of their social reputation and public image.

The presence of a private lab would increase competition in this field and ensure that the best would survive which translates into not only quality services with unbiased accurate opinions but quick quality services with

dependable opinions.20

20

“Need for an Independent Forensic Science Lab in Inida” Retrieved on April 03, 2014 from

http://www.truthlabs.org/needforaprivateforensicsciencelab.php

Importance of Forensic Science in Law: A Study                                                                       Page 15

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