Seems as if we are running the govt: High Court Chief Justice

Govt rapped,told waiting period in only forensic lab is 2-5 years.

Written by Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Published:October 4, 2013 2:25 am

It already seems like we are running the MCD,the DDA and the government through various orders. Are we supposed to run the FSLs as well? Why doesn’t the government do anything?”

This was what High Court Chief Justice N V Ramana had to say on Thursday after the Delhi government filed an affidavit stating that the waiting period at the only forensic science laboratory (FSL) in the city was between two and five years.

The government was responding to a PIL related to women’s safety in the city.

“How do you expect the court to adjudicate a case if the FSL and government take this long? People are coming to us with the grievance that justice is being delayed,” the Chief Justice said.

“Cases are examined by the FSL in the order of receipt… at present,a case takes two years to reach the chemistry division,three-four years to reach the DNA division and five years to reach the documents division,” the affidavit filed by the Additional Secretary (Home) of the Delhi government stated.

The affidavit further stated that currently,over 10,000 cases were pending in the different departments — nearly 1,300 of them for over two years and 65 for over five years.

The High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the security in the city after the December 16 gangrape. It had issued various directions to reform the police response system and introduce measures to ensure safety of women.

Government counsel Zubeda Begum told the court that there was a severe shortage of personnel in the FSL and proposals for recruitment of additional personnel were pending before the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB).

“Of the 337 sanctioned posts in FSL,Rohini,107 are vacant. Further demands for additional personnel are pending,” Begum said.

The High Court expressed its displeasure after Begum admitted that she did not know which official was responsible for DSSSB.

“The DSSSB is part of the Delhi Government,isn’t it? Who is the official in charge?” the Chief Justice said.

He said he was shocked to hear that there was only one FSL in the capital. Begum said the government had written to the DDA to change the land use of a plot next to the Rohini laboratory so that it could expand its operations. She said proposals to establish three more FSLs were “awaiting approval of the authority concerned”.

The Delhi Police also drew flak after its counsel Dayan Krishnan admitted that though recruitment of women to the Delhi Police was stepped up after the December 16 incident,women accounted for “less than six per cent” of the force.

According to rules,cases of rape and other crimes against women should ideally be investigated by women officers. But owing to the huge number of cases and the low number of women personnel,investigations were often long drawn,Krishnan told the court. To this the court replied,“This reflects very badly on police.”

The court asked the Lt-Governor to convene a meeting of “all relevant department heads” to “sort out” issues arising out of multiplicity of authorities.

Advocate Meera Bhatia,who is assisting the High Court in the PIL,suggested that the chief secretary as well as the home secretary and the health secretary of the Central government be directed to attend the meetings. The court said it would issue further directions by Friday.

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