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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • DNA testing is a means of analyzing the structure of a person's genome by taking samples of their DNA from their hair, fingernail, skin, or blood.
  • DNA testing is one of the most accurate techniques to determine a person's paternity or identify a body, with a 99.9% accuracy rate.
  • Test for DNA -The conclusive presumption established by section 112 of the Indian Evidence Act cannot be rebutted by DNA testing.

INTRODUCTION

DNA profiling is a technique for identifying a person at the molecular level. In recent years, the use of DNA as evidence in criminal investigations has increased. Low-level law enforcement has used DNA testing to identify suspects and solve complex crimes including rape, murder, and murder with rape. The ability of DNA typing has allowed for the settlement of immigration issues and tricky paternity cases. When the father is unavailable and unknown, DNA testing is carried out. Rapid identification of people in mass disasters (man-made disasters such as explosions) has also been feasible using DNA typing, a digital DNA database that can be used to identify people. In various nations, criminal offenders have been found using the same.

DNA is a valuable investigative tool since it can be used to find out what's going on in a person's body. No two persons have the same DNA, with the exception of identical twins. Each person's DNA is unique because the building elements of DNA differ in various parts of the cell. Despite the relevance of DNA in criminal investigations such as murder, rape, contested paternity, and man-made disasters, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 and the Criminal Procedure Code have no particular provisions. The procedure for dealing with forensic science difficulties was promulgated in 1973. The science of DNA identification is examined in this study. Its application in criminal investigations and processes, such as criminal trials, appeals, and post-conviction proceedings.

FURTHER DETAILS

Using very advanced scientific equipment, a DNA molecule from the suspect is first dismantled, then specific segments are separated and quantified in DNA analysis for a criminal inquiry. The suspect's DNA profile is then matched to one produced from a physical evidence sample to determine whether they match. If a definitive non-match is found, the suspect may be ruled out of the investigation. If a match is found, a statistical analysis is run to see how likely it is that the physical evidence sample originated from someone with the same DNA profile as the suspect. This statistical conclusion is used by juries to determine whether a person is guilty or innocent.

The admissibility of DNA evidence in court is always contingent on its accurate and proper collection, preservation, and recording, which might persuade the court that the evidence presented is trustworthy. In India, there is no explicit legislation that may offer precise directions to investigative agencies and courts, as well as the method to be followed in instances requiring DNA as evidence. Furthermore, the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 and the Code of Criminal Procedure of 1973 include no special provisions for dealing with science and technology concerns. Due to the lack of such a provision, an investigation officer has a difficult time gathering evidence that requires contemporary mechanisms to show the accused person's guilt.

RELEVANT SECTIONS

A police officer may obtain the help of a medical practitioner in good faith for the purpose of an inquiry under Section 53 of the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973. The CrPC (Amendment) Act, 2005, added two new provisions to the CrPC which allowed the investigating officer to take the needed DNA samples from the bodies of the accused and victim with the assistance of a medical practitioner. These provisions allow a medical practitioner to examine a person suspected of rape, as well as a medical examination of the rape victim.However, the admissibility of these evidences have remained an issue due to inconsistent opinions from the Supreme Court and several High Courts in separate rulings. Judges do not dispute the scientific correctness and conclusiveness of DNA testing, but they refuse to allow these evidences in some circumstances due to legal or constitutional prohibitions, as well as public policy considerations. There is an urgent need to re-check or re-examine these sections and respective legislation, as the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 include no rules for dealing with scientific and technological challenges.

Section 112 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, determines a child's parentage and states that a child born in a valid marriage between a mother and a man within 280 days of the marriage dissolution and the mother remaining unmarried shows that the child belongs to the man, unless proven otherwise, but there is no specific provision that would cover modern scientific techniques. When it comes to determining the paternity of a child in civil matters, DNA analysis is crucial. This evidence is especially important in criminal trials, civil cases, and criminal court maintenance proceedings under section 125 of the CrPC.

RELEVANCE OF SHEENA BORA CASE IN DNA EVIDENCE-

In the case of Sheena Bora's murder, the authorities depended primarily on DNA test findings. However, because a corpse cannot be recovered to establish a homicide, circumstantial evidence must be gathered in the event of a dispute. The recovery of the remains at the driver's request which was recorded under section 27 of the Evidence Act, is an important piece of evidence. Call records and the person with whom the deceased was last seen are also crucial components in proving the line of events.

The DNA result on the bones found in the Raigad jungle determined that they belonged to Indrani Mukherjee’s "female kid," putting to rest her claims that her daughter, Sheena Bora, was in the United States. The Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Kalina has also concluded that Mikhail Bora is Indrani's son, putting to rest, suspicions regarding his paternity.

DNA retrieved from the skeletal remains' femur (thigh bone) indicated a 100 percent match with Indrani's DNA, according to forensic specialists. Sheena's bones and head were excavated and removed from the jungles near Gagode in Raigad district on August 28, 2015, after Khanna and Rai, who were driven there by authorities, pointed out the exact location. The three were accused of strangling Sheena in a vehicle in Bandra on April 24, 2012, and then had travelled to Gagode. They allegedly doused the body with fuel, partially burning it, and then dumping it in the bush. On the 23rd of May, 2012, it was discovered by a local mango seller, and some components were seized by Raigad police.

Kunhiraman v. Manoj, [(1991) 2 KLT 190]was the first paternity case in India to require DNA evidence. It was held that “the result of DNA test by itself could be taken as conclusive in deciding paternity.”

CASE LAWS

Amarjit Kaur Vs. Harbhajan Singh, 2002[2003 (1) AWC 344 SC, (2003) 2 CALLT 23 SC, I (2006) DMC 27 SC, JT 2002 (9) SC 440, (2006) 142 PLR 385, (2003) 10 SCC 228, 2003 (2) WLN 671]

MAJOR JUDGMENT- The court noted in Amarjit Kaur v. Harbhajan Singh, that section 112 of the Evidence Act was created at a period when contemporary scientific advances with deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) testing were not available. A scientifically accurate DNA test is reported to exist. Even yet, it is not enough to avoid the conclusiveness of the law's presumption of the child's legitimacy.

KANTI DEVI vs. POSHI RAM, 2001(3) RCR (Civil) 587

The Supreme Court ruled in Kanti Devi v. Poshi Ram that while DNA evidence is scientifically reliable, it cannot be used to resolve paternity disputes due to public policy concerns. By this ruling, the Supreme Court pushed legislators to rigidly adhere to the traditional, unscientific, ineffectual, and prejudiced system of justice.

POWER OF COURTS

  • In most cases, the Court has sufficient authority to order the parties to submit to medical tests or to provide blood samples for DNA testing.
  • However, in one case, the Supreme Court of India held that: The courts in India cannot order blood tests as a matter of course. There must be a strong prima facie case in which the husband must establish non-access in order to dispel the presumption arising under section 112 of the Evidence Act. Therefore, one of the essential conditions for the Court directing DNA testing is the presence strong prima facie case.
  • The Court must carefully consider what the consequences of ordering the blood test will be; if it would brand a kid as a thug and the mother as an unchaste lady and no one can be forced to produce a blood sample for analysis.
  • The question in Sharda v. Dharam Pal [AIR 2003 SC 3450]was whether a party to a divorce action might be compelled to undergo a medical examination in this respect. The Supreme Court ruled- A marital court has the authority to require a person to undergo medical testing, and such an order would not breach Article 21 of the Indian Constitution's right to personal liberty. However, if the appellant has a strong prima facie case and there is sufficient evidence before the Court, the Court should utilize this jurisdiction.
  • If the respondent refuses to submit to a medical examination notwithstanding the Court's order, the Court has the authority to draw an unfavorable inference against him.

CONCLUSION

DNA testing ensures complete identity and is admissible. The admissibility of DNA evidence in court is always contingent on its accurate and proper collection, preservation, and recording, which might persuade the court that the evidence presented is trustworthy. In India, there is no explicit legislation that may offer precise directions to investigative agencies and courts, as well as the method to be followed in instances requiring DNA as evidence. Furthermore, there are no explicit provisions for dealing with science, technology, and forensic science concerns.

A DNA test is a strong boon in criminal administration of justice, matters of human dignity, human right & human relationship. The DNA Profiling Bill 2007 states the qualification of the DNA profiling board &its members, function and comprehensively which covers the wide field of DNA regarding the criminal case.

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE and Indian Evidence HERE


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