The Delhi high court on Wednesday took cognizance of a police report that showed a high acquittal rate in cases of crimes against women, children and elderly. The court blamed “shoddy investigation” of the police for such acquittals.
A status report submitted by the Delhi police to the court showed that in the past five years, over 80% of criminal cases decided by the Delhi high court and over 60% of similar cases decided by the sessions courts in the Capital had led to acquittal of the accused.
“The fault lies in the criminal investigation system,” a bench of Justice BD Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva said, adding that either the wrong person is made accused or the real culprit is let off due to lack of scientific evidence.
Between January 1, 2011 and December 31, 2011, out of 725 cases decided by the high court, 588 cases ended in acquittals.
During the same period, the sessions courts here decided a total of 14,270 cases, in which the accused were acquitted in 8,667 cases.
The report shows similar percentage of acquittal in crimes against women, senior citizens and children.
The court noted that shoddy investigation was the reason why it had been stressing on the need for bifurcation of Delhi police for crime and investigation and law and order.
“It is for this reason the court directed government to increase the man power and set up the forensic laboratories for scientific evidence,” said the bench.
The court was particularly irked at the city government’s submission that it was not in favour of increasing the number of forensic labs and instead was going to ensure that those which are already functional should work more efficiently.
As of now there are only two functional forensic labs in Delhi at Chanakyapuri and Rohini. The backlog of samples in these two labs is over 8,500.
A report from these labs is received only after 3-4 years, the court was informed.
Posting the matter for further hearing on May 18, the bench asked the Delhi government to submit a status report with regard to the backlog of samples which are yet to be tested in forensic labs and the number of samples tested in last three years.
The report shall also indicate the capacity of each forensic lab in the city, added the court which was hearing a PIL initiated by it after the December 16 gangrape for women safety and recruitment of additional police force in Delhi.