Evidence lifted from crime scene are of physical, biological and chemical in nature and need to be examined scientifically before qualifying as evidence in court: police officer

The Delhi Police’s decision to file charge sheets in rape cases within 20 days of the arrest of the accused may have been taken for faster disposal of cases, but practical hurdles could push the deadlines in many of them, say several police officers.

Speaking to The Hindu on the condition of anonymity, the officers said while ensuring speedy justice as an endeavour was welcome, precaution should be taken to ensure that haste is not undue in nature and the need for filing multiple supplementary charge sheets does not arise.

Since the announcement by Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi at the annual police press conference a few days ago, some officers investigating rape cases have raised apprehensions.

“The charge sheet should be foolproof — with statements of the witnesses recorded and evidence gathered corroborating each other. But due to technical and other constraints, a delay is inevitable even when the arrest is made immediately or soon after the complaint is lodged,” said a police officer.

Another officer added that evidence lifted from the crime scene are of physical, biological and chemical in nature and need to be examined scientifically before qualifying as evidence in court. Of this, results of the preliminary medical examination do not take long, but the police have to wait for other test results for much longer — more than 20 days in most cases.

“Samples such as hair, blood, semen and saliva are crucial in determining the outcome of the case. After being sent to the forensic science laboratory, some are examined in the Capital, while others are sent to other parts of the country where specialised laboratories are located. The reports usually take a month or so to arrive and many of these are pivotal in building a case with a better chance of negating the possibility of an acquittal,” said the second officer.

Then there are cases where the victim sustains injuries and is not in a State to record her statement for days and even weeks after the incident. This makes the wait period longer as the sequence of events are also to be ascertained, said the officers.

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