India should increase use of DNA testing with govt must setting up board for procedures, say experts

New Delhi: A group of experts on Tuesday urged government and police to increase the use of DNA testing in solving crimes and to set up a board which will lay down procedures and standards.

The experts from law enforcement, judiciary, forensics and academia also recommended amendments in Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, and Indian Evidence Act, 1872, to include scientific investigation in crimes.

Representational image. Reuters

Representational image. Reuters

They said that though DNA testing is done in criminal cases in India, the instances were very low compared to other countries.

"Approximately, DNA testing is done only in 7,500 cases in India annually," said Tim Schellberg, President of GTH-GA, a consultant agency, which have helped over 50 countries and states on legislation and policies to establish and expand DNA databases of criminal offenders.

He said this is "a shockingly low number" as "over 60,000 DNA tests are completed for crime scenes annually" in Britain, which has a population thirteen times smaller than India.

The experts said that a 'statutory body', in pursuance of 271st Law Commission Report on DNA profiling, should be set up to lay down procedures and standards to establish DNA laboratories, grant accreditation to laboratories, and also advise ministries and departments of the central and state governments concerned on matters related to DNA laboratories.

It will also frame guidelines for the training of the police and other investigating agencies in dealing with DNA related matters and it will also be responsible to supervise, monitor, inspect the laboratories.

Retired judge GP Thareja said that there is a need to educate the courts in India about DNA testing.

The experts also said that the law machinery world over is increasingly relying on DNA forensics to solve the crime, whereas India is lagging behind in adoption.

INSA Senior Scientist Durgadas Kasbekar, President of Indian Police Foundation N Ramachandaran, Supreme Court advocate Ravi Kant and others spoke on the occasion.

Updated Date: Oct 31, 2017 22:21 PM

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