Non-availability of DNA kits: 1,500 rape, murders cases lying pending in Haryana, says fast-track POCSO court
The precious time of the court is being wasted and the witnesses, including the doctors and experts cannot be examined in the absence of a DNA report, says court
About 1,500 cases pertaining to heinous crimes of rape or murder against women and child victims in Haryana cannot be concluded as the forensic science laboratories in the state do not have the kits to conduct DNA tests.
Surjeet Kumar, senior scientific officer, DNA division, Forensic Science Labs, Madhuban, Karnal, recently told this to a special fast-track court holding trial of Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act cases in Palwal.
The POCSO fast-track court of additional sessions judge (ASJ) Prashant Rana, which is holding the trial in the rape and murder of a seven-year-old girl said the DNA report has not been submitted in the court since June 2021. Blood stains and human semen were detected on the clothes and body of the victim. “The reason for delay of two years, as told by the senior scientific officer, is non-availability of DNA PCR kits. For a total requirement of 30 kits in FSL Madhuban, Karnal, around ₹1.5 crore would be required. There is no dearth of such an amount with the state government, yet the kits have not been purchased. Around 1,500 similar cases of heinous offences against women and child victims cannot be concluded throughout Haryana, on account of inaction on part of officers concerned, involved in the process of purchase of the DNA kits,” said the ASJ in his May 19 order.
On a query, the senior scientific officer submitted that a letter in this regard was written in November 2022 by the FSL director to the Haryana DGP, after which it is submitted to the home secretary and then to the finance secretary for approval of purchase of DNA PCR kits. The same is awaited. After the kits are received in Madhuban FSL, the reports would be prepared and submitted at the earliest.
Apex court directions on POCSO cases
Quoting directions of the Supreme Court, ASJ Rana said the state governments have been directed to make sure that the existing and available forensic science laboratories function in an effective manner insofar as analysis etc. of the samples collected under the POCSO Act are concerned and reports of such analysis be sent promptly and without any delay. The apex court had also ordered setting up of special POCSO courts to fast track the trial of cases.
The Palwal fast-track court said due to non-availability of kits, 53 cases of heinous offences against child victims of rape or murder, pending trial in this court cannot be concluded. “The precious time of the court is being wasted and the witnesses, including the doctors and experts cannot be examined in the absence of a DNA report. The very purpose of setting up of the fast-track courts seems to have been lost by the inaction on part of officers concerned. The inaction amounts to continuing non-compliance of the July 25, 2019 directions of the Supreme Court (SC). It also amounts to obstruction in the administration of justice in 53 cases pending trial in this court which await the DNA reports. Apart from the rights of the victims awaiting justice, the constitutional rights of the accused to a fair trial is also being defeated by the inaction. The same is unacceptable to the courts of law working in the interest of justice,” the POCSO court held.
Home, finance secy be informed for nod to purchase kits: Court
The special court directed the director, FSL, Madhuban to immediately comply with the SC directions and ensure that DNA PCR kits are immediately purchased and the reports in the 53 pending cases in this court, including the present case, are submitted at the earliest.
“A copy of this order be forwarded to the director, FSL, Madhuban, Karnal. He shall submit a compliance report on the next date of hearing on May 26, 2023, specifying the exact location of the file regarding the purchase of the DNA PCR kits, and the name and designation of the concerned officer for further appropriate action by this court. Since Madhuban FSL is under the administrative control of the additional chief secretary, home, and the necessary approval is to be given by the finance department, a copy each of this order be also forwarded the additional chief secretaries of the home and finance to ensure that the necessary approvals regarding purchase of DNA PCR kits are immediately accorded,” the court said.