Punjab and Haryana High Court initiates IAS-IPS panel to check delayed FSL reports : The Tribune India

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Punjab and Haryana High Court initiates IAS-IPS panel to check delayed FSL reports

Committee will recommend remedial measures to fast-track and streamline the entire process, says Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul

Punjab and Haryana High Court initiates IAS-IPS panel to check delayed FSL reports

Photo for representational purpose only. Tribune file



Tribune News Service

Saurabh Malik

Chandigarh, March 1

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the formation of an IAS-IPS officers’ committee, comprising three members each, to scrutinize the operations of Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) in the States of Haryana and Punjab. Its primary focus will be look into and suggest remedial measures regarding inordinate delays and lapses repeatedly coming to the court’s notice during the hearing of multiple cases

The direction by Justice Manjari Nehru Kaul of the high court came in a case registered under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, where the chemical examination was “completed after a staggering delay of nearly six months” despite the matter being labeled as “priority”.

Taking up the matter, Justice Kaul asserted the delay was not an “isolated incident”. It, rather, exemplified the recurring problem of delayed reports in FSLs across the States of Punjab and Haryana, along with the Union Territory of Chandigarh.

Justice Kaul asserted it was crucial to acknowledge the pivotal role of FSL reports in criminal cases, particularly in matters under the provisions of the NDPS Act, where the entire prosecution case was hinged on the chemical examiner’s report.

Justice Kaul observed: “Such undue delays not only impede timely investigations, but also prolong the conclusion of trials, infringing upon the fundamental right to speedy trial guaranteed under the Constitution of India. Merely being a passive observer to these recurrent issues would constitute a failure of the constitutional duty of this Court”.

The Bench added it was imperative to address the critical issue regarding “alarming delays” in the preparation and dispatch of the reports. Exercising the court’s inherent powers, Justice Kaul asserted the court deemed it expedient to constitute the committee. Its mandate would include the identification of underlying administrative and technical causes leading to the delays in the preparation and submission of the reports by the FSL.

Justice Kaul further added the committee would also recommend remedial measures to fast-track and streamline the entire process. The Advocates-General of both the States were also directed to submit in a sealed cover the names of three senior IAS, and as many number of senior IPS, officers within 10 days. These officers would be considered for the constitution of the committee. Subsequent to the submission of these names, the high court registry would proceed to present the case before the Bench for further consideration.

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