Prof Surinder Nath, former head, department of anthropology, University of Delhi, answers some frequently-asked questions about forensic sciences.
Is forensic sciences all about medico-legal case investigations?
forensic sciences in common parlance may be defined as application of science to the court of law.
It deals with analysis and examination of physical evidence recovered from the scene of crime. The input, thus provided by the forensic scientists is incorporated by the investigating officer (I O) in preparation of the case for presentation in the court. A forensic scientist may, if required, visit the crime scene to look for trace of evidence.
What are the latest trends in this field?
. DNA profiling is an extremely useful technique to identify individuals. It is applicable in establishing identity in case of mass disaster victims. It is also important in
solving cases of disputed paternity.
. Identification through bite marks
. Voice identification is another aspect of forensic sciences, which is useful in identification of speaker.
. Polygraphy, narco analysis and brain fingerprinting are other techniques that are being employed by the forensic scientists in cases that are very high profile.
. Ear biometrics is yet another technique which is used by forensic scientists for the purpose of identification.
Is any new branch emerging within forensic sciences?
Yes, forensic sciences is a non- static science and it keeps on adding new dimensions form time to time.
For example, ear biometrics is a new addition in the already existing branches of forensic sciences. Prior to this identification through iris, bite marks, speaker’s voice identification, narco analysis, brain fingerprinting, DNA profiling were frequently used in the process of identification
What are the different specialisations within forensic sciences?
Following are the different specialisations within forensic sciences:
. Physics and instrumentation
. Chemistry and toxicology
. Biology including molecular biology
. Forensic medicine
. Ballistics and explosives
. Questioned documents
. Narco analysis
. Brain fingerprinting
. Cyber forensic
. Voice identification
Who should go for forensic sciences?
Any science graduate can do forensic sciences at PG level. However, for UG course in forensic science one requires science at plus two level as well.
In three-year degree course the students are provided detailed knowledge on all the aspects of forensic science as compared to the diploma courses.
The subject matter is divided into six semesters in all and in each semester they have theory as well as practical work to do in much detail. Besides, a student of BSc Hons also studies two subsidiary subjects like chemistry/physics/ maths/biology.
At the postgraduation level the course content is much advanced as compared to the one offered at the graduation level. The subject matter is divided into four semesters where they have examination at the end of each semester.
In the first year students study criminal law /criminology and general forensic sciences/crime scene management/procedure of evidence collection/sketching the crime scene etc.
In the second semester they study specialised papers like chemistry, physics biology ballistics and handwriting examination besides serology, anthropology and medicine.
In the third semester they offer a special paper in physics, chemistry, biology, anthropology and prepare a dissertation