- Forensic science is the use of science in the examination of criminal and civil laws, as guided by legal criteria of acceptable evidence and criminal process.
- Forensic evidence analysis is utilized in the investigation and prosecution of civil and criminal cases.
- Sections 45 and 46 of the Indian Evidence Act offer a summary of the admissibility of forensic evidence in courtrooms.
Legitimacy has historically been seen as a cornerstone of the judicial system in a modern and democratic society. With the passage of time, there has been a significant advancement in the operation of the court system. As a result, there has been a tremendous penetration of technology and procedures in the process of a criminal investigation. In this case, forensic science comes in handy.
Forensic science is the use of science in the examination of criminal and civil laws, as guided by legal criteria of acceptable evidence and criminal process. The definition of forensics refers to the use of scientific procedures and techniques in the investigation of crime. Forensics is a branch of science that works to solve legal issues.
It comprises of nearly all categories of data and is a critical and cost-effective facilitator in the administration of justice in criminal, civil, regulatory, and social contexts. It is the application of science to respond to questions of legal concern.
Many fields, including physics, computer science, chemistry, biology, and engineering, are used in evidence analysis. For example, physics is employed to decode a blood splatter pattern, biology is used to track down the origin of an unidentified suspect, and chemistry is utilized to determine drug composition. The significance of forensic science in criminal justice and the legal system is frequently underestimated.
Application of Forensic Science in Law
Forensic analysis is often performed by professionals working alone or in groups. Forensic evidence analysis is utilized in the investigation and prosecution of civil and criminal cases. It may frequently aid in determining the guilt or innocence of potential suspects. Forensic evidence is also utilized to connect crimes that are suspected to be linked. For example, DNA evidence might link a single criminal to many crimes or crime locations (or exonerate the accused). Linking crimes assists law enforcement agencies in narrowing the pool of prospective suspects and establishing patterns of crime, which is important in identifying and prosecuting criminals.
Forensic Science is one of the essential components of criminal justice. It essentially deals with the scientific assessment of physical clues gathered from the crime scene. The identity (what) of the crime committed is gathered through rhetorical investigation of physical clues. The conditions speak volumes about the time (when) of the occurrence. The rhetorical proof establishes the location of the crime (where/crime scene). The rhetorical investigation determines the offender's technique (how). Finally, it explains the motive for the crime. The culprit and hence the victim are determined by the rhetorical investigators.
The work of a forensic scientist in a criminal investigation is crucial since it involves a comprehensive examination of evidence while assuring that it is not tampered with. A diverse array of forensic professionals and forensic techniques are used in the investigation of a criminal activity. Autopsies to identify the cause of death, for example, are performed by forensic pathologists. An autopsy can assist inidentifying the cause and manner of death by examining bodily fluids and tissues. Forensic scientists analyze physical evidence (fingerprints, DNA , hair, etc.) acquired from the crime scene to identify suspects. Furthermore, forensic professionals use image modification technology to seek down perpetrators who have eluded authorities for a long time.
Forensic Science in Criminal Proceedings
Evidence is collected at the scene of the crime during an investigation, tested in a laboratory, and the results are presented in court. Forensic science is important in the criminal justice system because it provides accurate information through the study of physical evidence, as well as the identification of the perpetrator through personal indicators such as fingerprints, footprints, blood droplets, or hair. It connects the perpetrator to the crime by artefacts left at the site and with the victim, or transported from the scene and with the victim. On the other hand, if the discovered clues do not connect the accused to the victim or the location of the crime, the accused's innocence is proven.
The judicial system recognizes the value of forensic evidence in criminal proceedings. This is due to the fact that when scientific ideas and methodologies are used, there is minimal opportunity for bias or unfairness. As a result, DNA profiling and some other forensic evidences are widely accepted in courts worldwide. Forensic scientists can filter down prospective suspects by evaluating a criminal's behaviors and features. Based on psychological evaluations of the objects seized from a criminal there is a contribution to the building of a thorough social and psychological profile of the perpetrator.
Forensic Science in Civil Proceedings
Forensic evidence is not only used in criminal investigations and trials. Forensic investigations and analysis have been shown to be useful in mediation, arbitration, and civil litigation. Physical evidence is subject to the same forensic concepts, protocols, and scientific methodologies whether the case is criminal or not.
Handwriting and Questioned Document Examination can be critical in dispute resolution instances involving fraudulent documentation because it addresses issues such as whether a controversial document has been manipulated, backdated, substituted, or whether the signatures on a document were faked.
In civil lawsuits involving traffic accidents or industrial mishaps, where the claimant is suing the defendant for negligence in order to recover compensation, the expertise of a forensic scientist who is well-versed and skilled in niche areas such as road accident reconstruction, occupational injuries reconstruction, and examination of damaged materials will be useful in assisting the courts in determining the culpability of the parties involved in the occurrence. Forensic investigations, analysis, and modelling tests can be very helpful in understanding the contributing components and underlying causes of an occurrence such as a fire, explosion, or vandalism. Forensic discoveries aid in unravelling the events that most likely occurred, as well as the behaviors of individuals.
Forensic Analysis in the Indian Scenario
Sections 45 and 46 of the Indian Evidence Act offer a quick summary of the admissibility of forensic evidence in courtrooms. The following may be found in sections 45 and 46:
- When required, the court will depend on experienced experts with technical and field knowledge of the facts described in the case.
- The court will depend on the report presented by the official or expert who arrived at his conclusions in good faith utilizing a range of techniques.
- Any evidence that appears irrelevant to the court but is important in the expert's opinion will be given relevance as a result of the expert's opinion.
Sec. 73 of the Indian Evidence Act, directs that any person can be asked to give a fingerprint or DNA examination even if they are the accused.
The Code for Criminal Procedure has several provisions enabling the analysis by an expert in order to examine certain cases.
- Section 53 (I) CrPC states that an accused may be investigated by a medical practitioner at the request of a police officer who is using reasonable force.
- Section 53 (ii) CrPC requires that any examination of a female accused person be conducted only by or under the supervision of a female certified medical practitioner.
- Under Section 54 CrPC, a medical practitioner may examine an arrested person at his request in an attempt to identify evidence in his favor.
There have constantly been concerns that forensic evidence given in a court of law violates the fundamental provisions of the law. According to Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, any person accused of criminal conduct cannot be forced to testify against himself. Many people believed that using fingerprints and DNA analyses for verification violated Article 20. (3). They contended that requiring the accused to provide fingerprints is equivalent to the accused providing evidence against themselves. However, in the case of State of Bombay v. Kathi Kalu Oghad and Anr.[1961 AIR 1808], the Supreme Court ruled that ordering anybody to provide forensic evidence such as fingerprints, blood, or hair sperm did not violate the clause of Article 20(3). The Hon'ble Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the use of narco-analysis and lie detectors in the case of Ramchandra Reddy and Ors. v. The State of Maharashtra[1 (2205) CCR 355 (DB)], but recently in 2006, in the case of Selvi and Ors. v. State of Karnataka and Anr. [(2010) 7 SCC 263] held that if the person providing statements in brain mapping or narco-analysis test is in a semi-conscious state they cannot be considered conclusive and thus it cannot be made a part of the compulsory investigation process.
Despite the fact that the use of forensic evidence has increased in the court system, there is still a limiting usage in the Indian judiciary. To date, the court has relied heavily on non-forensic, non-scientific evidence to render a decision. According to a recent survey undertaken by the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Delhi, barely 60-65 cases are resolved using forensic evidence. DNA evidence has only been utilized in roughly 5% of murder cases and 3% of rape cases. These numbers demonstrate the absence of scientific evidence in an Indian criminal inquiry. Courts have often remarked on the grounds for their unwillingness to employ forensic evidence in criminal investigations, including faulty collection, lack of preservation, non-collection of physical proof, unmaintained chain of custody, and delayed dispatch of tangible evidence for scientific examination.
In recent years, forensic science has grown dramatically, particularly in the fields of DNA collection and analysis and crime scene reconstruction. Nonetheless, there are far too few specialists who are competent in utilizing forensic science in legal situations. Well-trained forensic scientists and medical examiners may make or break evidence's capacity to appropriately depict the facts of a case. Forensic science may be employed in practically every case; however, homicide, rape, and arson investigations gain the most from it.
Forensic science, as a scientific approach, is a boon to the justice system. To move forward, we must address the current faults. On the same hand, there is a need to ensure that law enforcement and investigative agencies fully comprehend and utilize forensic science as a comprehensive problem-solving resource. There has been a focus in India on the inclusion of technology in the field of inquiry. Several commission studies argued that using the scientific approach in delivering decisions might bring about fairness, which is a cornerstone of democracy. However, courts have been hesitant to incorporate forensic science into their systems, owing to past experiences with contaminated evidence and fabricated outcomes. The government must take initiatives to raise public knowledge about the value of forensic science in the justice system. Police, investigating officers, detectives, and researchers must be educated on the advancement of science and technology, as well as the significance of such evidence.