The Punjab government on Tuesday told the Punjab and Haryana high court that three more forensic laboratories - at Amritsar, Bathinda and Ludhiana - had been made functional.
Punjab additional advocate general Reeta Kohli told the single-judge bench of justice Rajesh Bindal that the laboratories were made functional on November 30, adding that Rs 4.8 lakh had been earmarked for the rent of three buildings at Amritsar, Bathinda and Ludhiana and Rs 71.55 lakh spent on the purchase of equipment, furniture, chemicals etc. The high court was also informed that these labs had the facility of testing poppy husk samples only.
Not satisfied with the state government’s affidavit, the court bench asked why the facility of testing samples of other substances had not been started in these labs. The government has been directed to file its response by December 10.
The HC bench was hearing suo motu proceedings initiated by the court under which the establishment of more forensic laboratories in Punjab was being monitored. The state has the Forensic Science Laboratory at Mohali and the Chemical Examiner Laboratory at Kharar. In August, the government had informed that there was pendency of more than 3,000 samples in state labs of NDPS (Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances) cases. As per provisions of the NDPS Act, forensic science laboratories have to analyse samples within 15 days. But in Punjab, the sample analysis is taking several months in some cases.