Forensic samples to be bar coded for real-time tracking, reducing case pendency in Haryana
To streamline the functioning of Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at Madhuban, the Haryana government has developed a forensic evidence management system, which will help in automating the processes: from collecting samples from crime scenes to tracking them through barcodes and electronically assigning the forensic teams randomly.
The software will also connect the regional forensic labs with police stations, crime teams, hospitals. It can also be accessed by the judiciary during the trial of a case, officials privy to the matter said.
An amount of Rs 30 lakh has been spent on the project, which has been developed by Amit Mishra (33), who was lodged in Bhondsi jail for 13 months. He was acquitted of the charge of killing his wife on July 30, 2014. A software engineer by profession, Mishra along with 13 other inmates had earlier developed a software for digitising data related to inmates and operations across 19 jails in Haryana. The software, build on a PPP (prison-prisoner-partnership) model, was launched on April 1, 2015.
The system will reduce the backlog of cases, which are currently stand at 9,371.
Officials said the initiative was taken also to cope with the problem of leakage of sensitive samples or crime exhibits forwarded to the FSL for examination. The implementation of barcoding system from the point of collection till the submission of report will be authenticated and monitored by the use of barcode and biometric system, which will not only help in precisely locating the status of the samples, but also in estimating accountability .
“The system will also be later get upgraded and linked through android application for quick and fast communication. The government of Haryana has given approval and allocated funds for the implementation of the system, and it will be functional very soon. Apart from streamlining and inducing transparency, brocading will also act as immunisation to eliminate the possibilities of malpractices,” said Shrikant Jadhav, ADGP, Director, Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) said.
The software will use barcodes that will be used to identify samples which are sent to laboratories for making the process faster and easier to track. Mishra says that it would ensure confidentiality and reduce pilferage or tampering of samples in the government laboratories.
At present, the crime samples are brought from the police station, and they are identified by handwritten notes or printouts with details. As a result, they are liable to be tampered with. At an average, 17,400 samples are collected by the Haryana police and sent to laboratories for investigation pertaining to toxicology, biology, serology, physics, chemistry, DNA, documents, ballistics, lie detection, and other identification. The entire process from collecting samples to getting results is a very time-consuming process.During this period, a lot of tampering is possible, admit officials.
Jadhav said that the software, called Trakea, will help in monitoring every stage starting from the collection of samples, to submission of reports, the time taken in each step, to making everyone accountable for their jobs. Also, the information will be available to technical personnel in the laboratory only on a need-to-know basis, he adds.
Haryana chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar said the software will ensure transparency and zero interference of any outside agency or person, as there will only be a barcode and no case details to tamper with. “This will ensure that justice is fair, delivered in time and that innocent people do not suffer,” said Khattar.
Jadhav said earlier the process was subjected to corrupt practices, as the details of the FIR was attached to the samples. “Each and every stage from the point of sample collection, task allocation, till reporting will be authenticated and monitored by the use barcode and biometric system. This will not only help in increase in efficiency, precisely locating the status of the samples, but also in fixing accountability at each stage,” said Jadhav.