GUWAHATI, March 31 - The Gauhati High Court has directed the Assam government to fill up the vacant posts in the State Forensic Science Laboratory and implement all the recommendations by the committee constituted by the court to look into the affairs of the laboratory within six months. The Court has also directed the government to submit its compliance report to the Registrar General of the Court.
As the sorry state of affairs of the Forensic Science Laboratory became a matter of concern and with the number of cases pending with it increasing every year, the High Court took up a suo motu public interest litigation on the basis of various media reports on the issue and constituted a three-member committee comprising retired IAS officer DN Saikia and two former directors of the Laboratory � Dr P Mahanta and MB Borah � to look into the affairs of the laboratory and suggest measures to improve its condition.
During their visits to different divisions of the laboratory, the Committee members found that some basic instruments were not available, while some others need immediate repair. A large number of cases were pending in the DNA unit because the chemicals required could not be purchased. Not a single reporting officer was available in the ballistics division and computer forensic unit, while in some other divisions, the staff was grossly inadequate to deal with the cases.
The Committee recommended that the present deputy director of the explosives division was earlier in the ballistics division and he could be temporarily attached to the ballistics division, while an experienced retired officer can be re-employed to report cases in explosives division. The Committee observed that an agreement can be accorded between the State Forensic Science Laboratory and the Central Forensic Science Laboratory for clearing the cases pending in the ballistics and computer forensics unit. The pending cases can be handed over to the Central laboratory for disposal and experts from that laboratory can be allowed to use the equipment available in the State laboratory.
The other major recommendations of the committee included filling up of the vacant posts immediately, reconstitution of the State Forensic Development Board to ensure progressive development of forensic services in the State, integration of the State fingerprint bureau with the forensic science laboratory, etc.
The Committee pointed out that based on the recommendations of the National Human Rights Commission, the Eleventh Finance Commission provided funds way back in 2004 to set up district forensic mobile units and accordingly 25 such units were set up in the State. But the scheme turned out to be total failure and the Committee recommended that a inquiry or special audit be carried out to fix responsibilities for such huge wastage of public money.