GUWAHATI: The 'Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL), Assam', is hit by acute shortage of manpower, and this has adversely affected investigations of various agencies.
According to an internal report of the FSL, 57 of the 159 sanctioned posts in this Directorate were vacant till March 2020. This data also includes those in the RFSL (Regional FSL) in Jorhat.
In 2019, this Directorate received 3,741 cases containing 33,390 exhibits for analyses from various investigating agencies which included the State's as well as the Central government and semi-government agencies. Moreover, there were 600 cases with 11,981 exhibits pending from the previous years.
In 2019, the Directorate submitted its reports on 3,164 cases after examining 25,278 exhibits or samples. At the end of that year, there were 577 cases. In 2020, as many as 8,112 samples are yet to be examined.
The internal report of FSL was submitted to the 'Departmentally Related Standing Committee on Development (B) Departments (Home)-2020-2021' of Assam Legislative Assembly. This Committee also observed that there is large number of pending cases in the Directorate of Forensic Science, Assam. It particularly mentioned the 'Drugs and Narcotics Division', the 'Questioned Documents Division', the 'DNA unit of the Serology Division' and the 'Cyber Forensic Division – where, the panel stated that there is no expert at all.
Further, the Committee expressed its concern that "the non-submission of forensic report attributed to the denial of justice".
The Committee also observed that there are large numbers of posts in all cadres including expert position still lying vacant in this Directorate. It expressed its concern regarding the inadequate number of experts compared to the number of cases/samples received for examination.
The Committee recommended that necessary steps should be initiated to fill up all the vacant posts on an urgent basis. Committee also proposed the creation of posts wherever necessary, keeping in view the number of pending cases.
The FSL, Assam was established in Shillong, then capital of Assam in 1967. Two years later, i.e., in 1969, it was shifted to Guwahati; and then it moved to its permanent establishment at Kahilipara here.
Initially, it was under the administrative control of the Director General of Police (DGP), Assam. However in 2005, it came under the direct control of the State Home Department. Since then, it has come to be known as the 'Directorate of Forensic Science, Assam'.
The service of this laboratory is utilized by various investigating departments of Assam and the other north-eastern States. Among the other organizations that utilize its services are the NIA (National Investigating Agency), Army, BSF, and NFR, Customs and Central Excise, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, and the Narcotic Control Bureau. The list also includes the Forest department, banks, medical colleges, education and research institutions, universities, and PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings) like the OIL, and the ONGC among others.