Management of DNA Sampling in Rape Incidents [SCC ARCHIVES]

by G.K. Goswami† and Siddhartha Goswami‡
† Serving Member of Indian Police Service from Uttar Pradesh and currently on deputation to the Government of India. Also pursuing research activities at Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU), Gandhinagar 382 007, India. Email: goswamigk.ips@gmail.com (Corresponding Author).
‡ Student, Jindal Global Law School, Sonipat.
Cite as: (2018) 7 SCC (J) 4

Investigation of crime with scientific and forensic vigour ensures transparency in evidence collection abiding by the oftquoted aphorism “Not only must justice be done; it must be seen to be done”.[1] Both victim and accused are entitled to fair criminal proceedings with scientific investigation braced by forensic corroboration. Transparency in evidence processing builds faith in criminal justice apparatus. “Locard’s Exchange Principle”, the citadel for forensic sciences, says that when any person comes in contact with any object or any other person, a cross-transfer of physical evidence does occur.[2] Admissibility of expert opinion is conditioned upon the inviolability of forensic sample which necessitates infallible procedural management to avoid tampering, manipulation and mishandling of samples. The procedural protocol must invoke evidence dynamics to annul scope of any influence to modify, obscure, relocate or obliterate physical evidence, regardless of bona fide or malicious intent.

Rape is a global challenge for public safety and protection of women and children. Sexual offences suffer from under-reporting and poor rate of conviction for want of credible evidence. Forensic corroboration of the sole testimony of the prosecutrix in sex crime becomes significant since these crimes occur in isolation, practically eliminating possibility of finding ocular witness. Since 1986, DNA has emerged as a potent evidentiary tool for corroboration of sole testimony of the prosecutrix. Matching of DNA profiles of biological contents exchanged between the prosecutrix and the accused has credible probative value. Touch DNA technology, especially Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), adds value especially when biological content is in traces. In forensic world, selection, collection, packaging, labelling, storage, preservation, transport and maintenance of chain of custody are vital steps for handling physical samples with utmost care and expertise aiming to avoid risk of contamination, destruction, loss or potential fiddle.

Serving Member of Indian Police Service from Uttar Pradesh and currently on deputation to the Government of India. Also pursuing research activities at Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU), Gandhinagar 382 007, India. Email: goswamigk.ips@gmail.com (Corresponding Author)

This article is primarily intended to emphasise upon the importance of maintaining sanctity of forensic samples by timely conducting forensic medical examination (FME) of individuals or relevant spots to maintain sanctity and reliability of samples. Proposed standard operating procedures (SoP) would be a beacon of light for foot soldiers of law enforcement agencies to handle forensic samples without any legal or scientific procedural lapses. It further aspires to homogenise forensic intervention to improve competence of medicolegal experts for conducting FME; and assist courts to undertake comprehensive procedural evaluation of expert opinion in order to rebuild faith of common mass in judicial processes.

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[1]R. v. Sussex Justices, ex p McCarthy, [1924] 1 KB 256.

[2] Chisum W.J. and Turvey B., ‘Evidence Dynamics: Locard’s Exchange Principle & Crime Reconstruction’, Journal of Behavioral Profiling, vol. 1, no. 1, January 2000, pp. 1-15.

One comment

  • Hai excellent jod done by author, very informative

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