March 3, 2022

H P high Court

Vijyender Sharma

SHIMLA-----In a matter highlighting the issue of tampering of evidence in variour criminal cases, which in turn changes the fate of the case, the High Court of H.P. has directed the State Government to specify the total number of pendency of samples in State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFSL), Junga and Range Forensic Science Laboratories Dharamshala & Mandi. The court has also directed the State to specify the average time taken for reporting of the samples received from the Investigating Agencies by these laboratories. The State has been further directed to inform the court about the staff strength of above said laboratories; number of  posts  lying vacant; number of  machines lying out of order in the laboratories. The State has also been directed to specify that how many directions issued by the High Court including the recommendations of Dr. M.S. Rao, the then Director-cum-Chief Forensic Scientist, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, New Delhi,  have been complied with and what steps are being taken to ensure compliance of remaining directions.

            The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua, has passed this order on the Civil Writ Petition filed by one Ms. Neha Scott. The petitioner has alleged that the procedure of collection and sealing of physical evidence collected at the scene of crime is not of high standard according to the present modern times. The sending of evidence in cloth and wax are archaic and need to be done away with. The petitioner has further submitted that the investigation of any criminal case is the backbone of criminal justice in the society, hence securing and collecting evidence needs to be properly packaged, sealed and labeled which is tamper proof with a barcode.

            The petitioner has alleged that there have been many criminal cases in which the spirit of the case was dampened due to the evidence been tampered with by the officials who were incharge of handling the case. As such, the protectors of law become perpetrators of law.

            The petitioner has prayed that instead of the archaic and outdated methods of sealing evidence by way of wax and stamp seals, the tamper proof packaging be introduced and be made as a cardinal principle in criminal cases throughout the State of Himachal Pradesh. The petitioner has further prayed that certain guidelines be issued to the police officials regarding collection, labeling and forwarding of evidence with new methodology and scientific method. The matter has been posted for 30.03.2022.

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