Addressing the graduating students of the National Forensic Sciences University (NFSU), Gandhinagar, at its first convocation, Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the introduction of forensic evidence as a legal provision in India’s criminal justice system. The government aims to make forensic investigation “compulsory and legal” for offences attracting punishment of more than six years, Shah said.
“The Indian government under the leadership of PM Modi is going to make radical changes in the IPC (Indian Penal Code), Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) and Evidence Act. There is a need to re-make these laws from an independent India’s perspective. That is why, after holding discussions with several people, we have been working for two-and-a-half years on these three acts. We will introduce a legal provision in these acts that such crimes that have the provision of over six years punishment, forensic evidence will be made compulsory and legal in them. You can imagine how many experts, graduates and double graduates will be required then,” he said.
As many as 1,132 students, including 91 foreign nationals, graduated from NFSU on August 28. Gujarat High Court Chief Justice Aravind Kumar, state cabinet minister Rajendra Trivedi, state Home Minister Harsh Sanghavi, and NFSU Vice-Chancellor Dr JM Vyas were present on the occasion.
“Conviction ratio can only increase when we bring forensic evidence as a legal provision and this can only happen when we have trained manpower. Trained manpower can only be achieved if we have an arrangement for their training. In a very short time, NFSU has opened campuses in Bhopal, Goa, Tripura, Guwahati and Delhi, among others. We have provided the NFSU with the status of institute of national importance so that its reach and acceptability across India rises,” added Shah.
He said that days of “third-degree (treatment)” are over and only scientific evidence is the way to increase the conviction ratio.
“Back in 2002-2003, the then chief minister Narendra Modi had a vision that India should have a strengthened conviction ratio which cannot be achieved unless we present forensic evidence strongly in court. For this, he decided to separate Gujarat Forensic Sciences Laboratory from the Gujarat Police department to keep it independent and convert it into India’s best FSL. That dream was achieved soon and then, we realised a shortage of trained manpower. During its discussion, it was decided to set up Gujarat Forensic Sciences University (GFSU),” said Shah.