Dec 16 gang-rape: HC unhappy with govt forensic lab’s slow work
New Delhi – High court on Thursday expressed its displeasure over the time taken by the Delhi government’s forensic laboratory to examine criminal evidence cases.
A bench of Chief Justice NV Ramana and Justice Manmohan said, “if the forensic lab takes years to examine a case and send a report, how do you expect the courts to dispose of the criminal case.”
The court’s observation came after Delhi Government, through an affidavit, said that the only state-run Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in the city, at Rohini, gets a large number of cases for examination, leading to backlogs.
“In view of pendency of case exhibits, at present a case for examination comes in two years in Chemistry division, three-four years in DNA division and five years in documentation,” the affidavit explained.
According to the affidavit, as of August 31, 2013, a total of 10,332 cases are pending although manpower, space and other infrastructure had not increased commensurately.
Further, the government said it had decided to establish three regional FSLs in view of the large number of cases, but DDA is yet to sanction the land.
The bench, which had taken suo motu cognisance in the Dec. 16 Delhi gang-rape incident, asked Lt Governor (LG), who is the Chairman of DDA, to hold a meeting with the departments concerned to address the issue with land as also the other shortcomings.
Meanwhile, the court also expressed its anguish at the thin presence of women personnel in the police force.
“Knowing well what incidents are happening in the city, at least 50 per cent of the posts should be filled by women personnel. To reach 30 per cent reservation for women, it will take 10 years,” the bench said in reference to a police report giving details of the total number of personnel in the force.
Appearing for the police, Special Public Prosecutor Dayan Krishnan admitted that the ratio of the men to women in Delhi Police was less than six per cent.
The court also directed the Centre to apprise it about the steps taken to sensitise the public on issues related to women’s safety.
Earlier, the court had asked police to file an affidavit disclosing the number of vacancies of Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI), Sub-Inspector and Inspector-rank, including the number of women personnel, in the force.
The court had also asked the Centre and Delhi government to file affidavits enumerating the number of forensic laboratories in the city and the time taken by them in completing reports in each case.
On Dec. 16 last year, a 23-year-old paramedical student was gang-raped by six persons on a moving bus.
Of the six, four were awarded death penalties by a special fast track court on Sept. 13 for offences including murder and gang-rape of the victim.
Proceedings against main accused Ram Singh were abated after he was found dead in his prison cell in March and the juvenile accused in the case was sentenced to three years in reformation home by the juvenile justice board.
The court had earlier decided to monitor issues related to women’s safety in the national capital. It had suggested that police come out with a GPS system to track the location of suspected vehicles and asked it to take help from Infosys or TCS for developing the software.
Further, the court had asked the state government and health department to issue a directive for all hospitals, including the private ones, to attend to trauma patients in the city.
It had said that no hospital can turn down a patient who needed immediate medical attention especially in rape or accident cases.
The Dec. 16 incident had sparked nation-wide outrage. The victim succumbed to her injuries at a Singapore hospital on Dec. 29.