Concerned over the backlog of 60-70 cases of DNA analysis each month at the forensic science laboratories (FSLs), the Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab government to apprise it whether the proposal for creation of posts for the labs has been approved by the Finance Department yet or not.
In December 2019, a single bench had directed the Finance Department to ensure that the required sanction for recruitment of staff in the Regional Forensic Science Laboratory at Amritsar, Ludhiana and Bhatinda be given immediately unless there are any extremely “urgent reasons” due to which it cannot be done. The government is yet to file a reply to the court order.
“It is seen that no such affidavit has still been filed. Consequently, (hearing) adjourned to March 2…an officer at least of the rank of a Joint Secretary to the Government of Punjab, Department of Finance, would file an affidavit as to whether the proposal for creation of posts/recruitment of staff in terms of what is noticed in the order dated December 6, 2019, has been granted, and if not, the reasons thereof,” reads the order passed by Justice Amol Rattan Singh.
The HC had earlier been told that laboratories in Punjab are able to handle only about 30 cases per month while the number of cases received per month are about 100 per month.
A proposal had been sent to the government in July 2019 for recruitment of staff for the regional laboratories but it has remained with the Finance Department for months, the court was told.
The fresh order has been passed during hearing of an anticipatory bail plea.
The court had taken note of the fact that even the basic facility of proper analysis of video recordings is not available at Punjab Forensic Laboratory in Mohali.
The court was told that facility of DNA evidence is already available at the main lab and a proposal for creation of 36 posts for DNA, cyber forensic and audio/voice analysis has been sent to the government for regional labs.
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