Centre mulling making forensics mandatory for serious criminal cases: Amit Shah

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that forensic evidence strengthens the prosecution’s hand and could take the conviction rate for criminal cases much higher.
Amit Shah is in Goa to lay the foundation stone for the Goa campus of the National Forensic Science University which he said will help staff forensic labs across the country ten years from now. (ANI PHOTO.)
Amit Shah is in Goa to lay the foundation stone for the Goa campus of the National Forensic Science University which he said will help staff forensic labs across the country ten years from now. (ANI PHOTO.)
Published on Oct 14, 2021 05:51 PM IST
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By Gerard de Souza

Any crime that involves a possible punishment of six years or more needs to necessarily include a forensic investigation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has said in Goa. The minister also indicated that the Union government is considering making it mandatory for such investigation to be conducted.

Shah said that forensic evidence strengthens the prosecution’s hand and can take the conviction rate for criminal cases higher. He was speaking an event to lay the foundation stone for the Goa campus of the National Forensic Science University.

“We are trying to focus on ensuring that there should be compulsory visits of the forensic science team in all crimes where the punishment is more than six years (serious crimes). If we achieve this then in more than 600 districts across the country, one forensic science laboratory, even if small, will have to be set up along with a mobile forensic van,” Shah said.

“If we have to do this then we will need 30,000 to 40,000 forensic scientists. From where will we get them? On the one hand there is unemployment; on the other hand skilled manpower is not there. If we are to bridge this then education and skilling is the way forward. Which is why we are setting up the forensic science university,” Shah added.

“The wrongdoer can be brought to justice only when the conviction ratio rises and when the people can rest assured that he will spend a long time in jail. This can happen only when the conviction rate climbs higher. This can happen when the prosecutor has in his hands scientific evidence. The concept had come to our country, even the labs came but there was a shortage of manpower so cases were dragging on and on,” he added.

Shah is in Goa to lay the foundation stone for the Goa campus of the National Forensic Science University which he said will help staff forensic labs across the country ten years from now.

“This is a big gift for the youth of Goa. In this campus, forensic science in general, forensic chemistry, toxicology, biotechnology, fingerprint, DNA science, financial crimes investigation, cyber-security analysis, digital forensic science and wildlife forensic science courses will be available. I call on science stream students from the state to take up these courses,” Shah said.

“Not only for students and children -- police officers, judicial officers and people related to cyber-security and private security researchers will also have the option for diploma courses,” he added.

“I know that Goa is a small state. But if you look for the number of sailors across the country, you will find that most of them are from Goa. Most of the sailors of the country come from Goa. So I wish to say that in ten years’ time there should be a situation where most of the forensic scientists from across the country come from Goa,” he added.

Shah called on the institute to also offer Goa-specific courses that can tackle issues like tourist security, drugs, narcotics, coastal policing etc.

“Look at Goa’s crime situation as a tourist hub and you need to make some courses ready for tourist security, a suitable centre also needs to be set up for drugs and narcotics and for coastal policing too a centre of the NFSU unit needs to be set up,” he added.

The college is not only for Goa but law enforcement agencies from across west India and neighbouring Karnataka who could use its expertise, he said.

The courses at the college will start immediately, the minister informed.

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Sunday, October 17, 2021