Maharashtra gets two weeks to comply with HC order on forensic labs

  • PTI, Mumbai
  • Updated: Mar 11, 2015 21:17 IST

The Bombay high court on Wednesday expressed unhappiness over Maharashtra government's delay in complying with its earlier order to set up mini forensic labs in every district and tehsil to ensure speedy probe into crimes.

The court gave Maharashtra government two weeks' time to comply with its earlier order to set up mini-forensic labs in every district and tehsil to reduce pendency of cases requiring analysis, in order to ensure speedy probe into crimes.

Pulling up the state for not obeying its earlier directives, an HC bench headed by justice Naresh Patil asked Maharashtra government to file a compliance report of its September 5, 2014 order which had directed the establishment to take a policy decision on the issue within three months.

"We direct you (Maharashtra government) to file a compliance report of our earlier order before March 25," the judges said.

In its September 5 order, the court had directed the state government to fill up 125 vacant posts in forensic laboratories during the next three months. The HC had also asked the state to purchase 45 fully-equipped mobile forensic lab vans.

Today, the judges asked the state government about the steps it had taken to appoint medico-legal officers to man forensic labs and also what it had done to comply with the HC's directive to induct 45 mobile vans in the state.

These court directives were given on a suo-motu (on its own) public interest litigation based on a newspaper report which had stated that 21 out of 35 districts in the state did not have any forensic lab facilities.

The bench also observed today that mobile forensic labs could reach crime scenes immediately along with police investigation officers to collect on-the-spot photographs, blood smear samples and fingerprints. "You have to be a step ahead of criminals who disappear after committing the crime," the bench said.

On the last occasion, the bench had been informed by amicus curiae (friend of the court) advocate Sarang Kotwal that due to shortage of laboratories, the police have to carry forensic samples to regional labs using state transport buses, which causes delay.

Kotwal had said that existing laboratories do not have proper infrastructure, adding that due to this, around 11,000 cases are pending in regional labs at Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad and Amravati.

According to Maharashtra government, a proposal to start two more labs at Kolhapur and Nanded is pending. It also stated that there are 588 post-mortem centres in Maharashtra and there is a proposal to start an additional 29 such centres.

The judges were of the view that if so many cases lie pending, it would have a direct impact on the criminal justice system.

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