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Offenders beware: DNA may be evidence soon
Salil Mekaad in Bhopal | January 04, 2006 13:53 IST
As Madhya Pradesh law enforcing agencies mull ways to prepare a DNA database of criminals, a Bill aimed at recognising DNA as evidence in crimes is likely to be tabled during the next monsoon session of Parliament.
"We have solved the first round of queries by the concerned Ministries - Law, Home and Science - on the Bill. It will be brought before the Cabinet soon," DNA Profiling Advisory Committee Member-Secretary Dr Seyed Ehtesham Hasnain told PTI.
"The bill is expected to be tabled in the monsoon session of Parliament as the budget session is likely to be hectic," said Hasnain.
Hasnain is a member of the committee under Biotechnology department formed to oversee and enforce regulations for DNA profiling, testing, DNA databank and crime investigations, among others.
"The bill will recognise DNA as evidence and improve the efficacy of justice delivery system greatly, besides offering uniform quality control and quality assurance in DNA fingerprinting technique and laying guidelines for preparation and use of a DNA database of criminals," he said.
The need for uniform norms of DNA fingerprinting technique was felt with several state forensic laboratories and private agencies entering the field, said the former Director of Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics, Hyderabad.
The CDFD drafted the bill in collaboration with the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research.
"In order to ensure admissibility of DNA fingerprints in courts of law as concrete evidence, the bill lays down strict quality control procedures," he said.
Experts believe that the ability to link the culprit to the crime scene through his DNA prints is unquestionable as unlike conventional fingerprints that can be surgically altered, DNA is found in every tissue and no known chemical intervention can change it.
Usefulness of DNA in solving crimes and identifying culprits had made it essential for providing a legal framework to the fingerprinting technique in order to admit it as 'unquestionable evidence' in courts of law, instead of using it as an 'expert evidence' under the Indian Evidence Act, they said.
The growing dependence on DNA to track down criminals is prompting state forensic laboratories to develop their testing facilities, Inspector General of Police (CID) M P Dwivedi said.
The state will have the first DNA testing facility at state Forensic Science Laboratory from January 26, he said.
"With the facility starting soon, a proposal for DNA databank of criminals - probably a first of its kind - was being drafted," FSL Scientific Officer and State Assistant Chemical Examiner Dr Pankaj Shrivastava said.
"Once the database is formed, crime fighting will be easier and justice will be delivered quicker," he added.
"Every criminal leaves traces of his DNA at the crime scene - on the bed, car steering, murder weapons. It can be used to track him down," Shrivastava said, adding, "It is a foolproof method of finding culprits and can be an undeniable evidence in courts of law as DNA does not lie."
The pattern on which base pairs are arranged on DNA of every individual differ. This difference enables the identification of the DNA source, said Shrivastava, who along with three other scientists took training on DNA fingerprinting at the CDFD.