Formulate SOPs for DNA test of bodies recovered during riots: HC

Municipal workers cleaning a drain in Shiv Vihar. Several bodies were recovered from the drain after the riots.

Municipal workers cleaning a drain in Shiv Vihar. Several bodies were recovered from the drain after the riots.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

‘People are not constrained to rush to courts each time’

The Delhi High Court has asked the AAP government to formulate a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for DNA matching of the unidentified bodies recovered during the recent riots in north-east Delhi so that “individuals are not constrained to rush to courts each time DNA sampling or matching is to be done”.

“This court is of the view that there should be SOPs so that essential matters are dealt with in a timely and even-handed manner without leaving the affected parties to the discretion, whims and fancies of the authorities,” Justice Anup J. Bhambhani remarked on Thursday.

The High Court’s remarks came while ordering the government to complete the DNA matching of an unidentified body of a riot victim before March 30 and to communicate the result to Matlub Alam within 24 hours of being prepared.

Mr. Alam, in his plea, stated that his brother went missing on February 25 during the riots in north-east Delhi. He feared that his brother may have suffered an unfortunate end.

He stated that upon receiving information that certain bodies were lying unclaimed in the mortuary of GTB Hospital, he went there, where he learnt that one of the bodies was found on the night of February 27 from the side of Pushta, near Kali Ghata Cut, in Karawal Nagar. Mr. Alam said this was the area where his brother was last present.

‘No information yet’

On his request, the blood sample of his father was collected at GTB Hospital on February 29 with the purpose of conducting DNA matching to confirm if the body recovered was that of Mr. Alam’s brother. Mr. Alam contended that despite lapse of more than two weeks, there has been no information on the result.

During the hearing, the Delhi government’s standing counsel Naushad Ahmad Khan said the process of DNA matching is already under way, “but according to his instruction, the scientific process of testing itself takes about 15 days”.

Mr. Khan assured that considering the urgent and sensitive nature of the matter, the DNA matching will be expedited and a report will be given as soon as possible.

The court additionally noted that “the same problem with regard to identification of bodies recovered in the recent riots is being faced in several cases”.

Responding to this, Mr. Khan stated that the resources of the Forensic Science Laboratories (FSLs) in Delhi are severely stretched since they receive hundreds of samples. “Samples are received in matters which are pending criminal investigation or trial; and in case of mass casualties such as riots, fires etc.,the FSLs get overwhelmed by the samples received. In such cases they are required to prioritise the testing of the DNA samples and cope with their limited resources,” Mr. Khan explained.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 1:48:18 PM |

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