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The history and development of forensic science

India Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: History and development of forensic science in India. J Postgrad Med 2000;46: Although our ancestors did not know forensic science in its present form, scientific methods in one way or the other seem to have been followed in the investigation of crime. Indians studied various patterns of the papillary lines, thousands of years ago.

It is presumed that they knew about the persistency and individuality of fingerprints, which they used as signatures. The use of fingerprints as signatures by illiterate people in India, introduced centuries ago, was considered by some people as ceremonial only, till it was scientifically proved that identification from fingerprints was infallible.

Later, similar laboratories were set up at Calcutta 1853followed by one each at Agra 1864 and Bombay 1870. These laboratories were equipped to handle toxicological analysis of viscera, biological analysis of stains of blood, semen, etc. These laboratories also provided analytical facilities to the neighbouring States and Union Territories. Anthropometric bureau While some progress was made in the identification of poisons, the identification of people, specifically criminals, was still being done in a the history and development of forensic science haphazard manner.

With the introduction of Photography, the Criminal Investigation Department CID maintained records of every known criminal including a detailed description of his appearance. Finger print bureau William Herschel, the Collector of the District of Hooghly Bengal found that markings on the fingertips of a person never changed during his lifetime. Herschel applied his knowledge and skill in devising a system of registration of finger or thumb impressions of native contractors to safeguard the interests of the Govermnent against the repudiation of contracts by them.

The History and Development of Forensic Science

Thereafter, he extended his registration procedure to prison regulations for identifying convicted criminals. In 1877, Herschel sought the consent of his superior officers in putting his ideas into practice, but did not succeed. Long before 1897, he introduced maintenance of duplicate criminal records with impressions of 10 fingers separately.

  1. With the invention of photography he was the first to use it in criminal investigation. During the year 1955, a small unit of Physics was established in the West Bengal State Forensic Science Laboratory to deal with various physical examinations of exhibits encountered in crime investigation.
  2. England also solved a number of murder cases using forensic science.
  3. He had exulted when he had found out that a crown was not made of gold, as it was falsely claimed by its density and buoyancy.
  4. History and development of forensic science in India. Department of explosives When the use of explosives for subversive activities became common, it was found necessary to detect the causes of explosion, either accidental or intentional.

Henry employed few selected Indian police officers, viz. Khan Bahadur Azizul Huq and Rai Bahadur Hem Chandra Bose to work under his general supervision till the classification was evolved, which remains the basic system even to-day. Rai Bahadur Hem Chandra Bose made further contribution to the fingerprint science by evolving an extended systern of sub-classification, a telegraphic code for finger impression and a the history and development of forensic science of single-digit classification.

Henry approached the Government to seek approval for replacing the anthropometric data by fingerprints for the identification of habitual criminals. Government readily agreed, and the first fingerprint bureau in the world was officially declared open at Calcutta in July 1897, although the collection of record slips had started a few years earlier.

Thus, the personnel identification solely on the basis of fingerprints commenced in India. Department of explosives When the use of explosives for subversive activities became common, it was found necessary to detect the causes of explosion, either accidental or intentional. The foundation of the Department of Explosives was laid when the first chief inspector of explosives was appointed in the year 1898, with his headquarters at Nagpur.

Gomia and Asallsol were opened. They developed competence to provide scientific clues in respect of explosives as well as the possible causes of explosions. Government examiner of questioned document, shimla The British Government of Bengal felt the necessity of identifying the handwritings on the secret documents connected with the Indian independence movement and, therefore, created the post of Government Handwriting Expert of Bengal.

  • In order to perform this yeomen service, the CFSLs need to maintain very high standards and specialization, way beyond what is possible in the State FSLs;
  • These laboratories were equipped to handle toxicological analysis of viscera, biological analysis of stains of blood, semen, etc;
  • It recommended that universities should be encouraged to introduce courses in Criminology at the under-graduate level and postgraduate courses in Criminology and Forensic Science should be started only in a central autonomous institution, which should be affiliated to a university;
  • This laboratory became fully operational in the year 1953;
  • It was also envisaged that the Institute should have two distinct faculties viz.

CR Hardless, the then Superintendent in the A. This set-up was shifted to Shimla in the year 1906 and was placed under the control of the Director, CID. CR Hardless was appointed to this post.

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He was replaced by Mr. At first, the work of this office was mainly confined to the identification of writings on secret documents. Later, as the application of this branch of science was felt in many other cases, the services of this office were thrown open to criminal as well as civil court cases. During the World War II, this organization took up the history and development of forensic science additional work of secret censorship, including the detection of invisible writings and training of military personnel in this field of science.

Serologist to the government of india When the science of examining human blood developed in India, it became possible to examine blood and seminal stains in criminal investigations. The head of this institute was designated as Imperial Serologist to the Government of India.

Hankin helped in establishing this department. Though the scientific techniques for serological examination were at the infancy stage, this institute provided valuable scientific support by analyzing biological materials for crime investigations.

Footprint section of criminal investigation department During the year 1915, a Footprint Section was established under the CID, Government of Bengal, which helped the police authorities to identify criminals through the examination of footprints collected from the scene of crime.

The detection of a burglary in the showroom of an English firm was entirely due to the action of a Hindu constable, who noticed on a piece of furniture the marks of a foot possessing certain peculiarities, which he remembered having seen before in the foot of an ex-convict.

Note forgery section in criminal investigation department During 1917, a Note Forgery Section was set up under the CID, Government of Bengal, to undertake the examination of forged currency notes. The Revenue Department also started its own laboratory for identification of opium and narcotics, liquor analysis and estimation of purity levels of precious metals like gold, silver, etc.

Similarly, Government Mint and Security Printing Departments at Nasik also established their own laboratories for detecting cases of counterfeit and forged currency notes. Ballistics laboratory In 1930, an Arms Expert was appointed and a small ballistic laboratory was set up under the Calcutta Police to deal with the examination of firearms. As the menace of firearms grew, other State CIDs also established small ballistics laboratories to help them in the criminal investigation.

Scientific sections in the criminal investigation department During 1936, a Scientific Section was set up the history and development of forensic science the CID in Bengal and facilities were created for examination of bullets, cartridge cases, firearms, etc. Few other states also started scientific sections in their CID, where investigations on fingerprints, footprints, firearms and questioned documents were also carried out.

Gradually, more and more branches of science were embraced and the laboratories gained maturity over the years. State forensic science laboratory, calcutta The first state forensic science laboratory in India was established in the year 1952 at Calcutta. This laboratory became fully operational in the year 1953. During the year 1955, a small unit of Physics was established in the West Bengal State Forensic Science Laboratory to deal with various physical examinations of exhibits encountered in crime investigation.

During the year 1957, the Physics unit developed into a full-fledged Physics Section. Thus the first multidisciplinary forensic science laboratory came into existence in the country. It, however, suffered a setback and was abolished in 1922 as a result of retrenchment proposals of the Inchape Committee. The aim of establishing such a school was to impart training in scientific investigation of crimes like drug abuse, terrorism, explosion, crime against women, investigation of road accidents and enforcement of traffic laws, etc.

Central forensic science laboratories The first Central Forensic Science Laboratory was established at Calcutta during 1957. To begin with, this laboratory was organised into four basic disciplines viz.

During the year 1965, the second central forensic science laboratory was established at Hyderabad, The CFSL, Hyderabad initially established analytical facilities in the disciplines of Forensic Physics, Forensic Chemistry and Forensic Biology. The Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Chandigarh, was established, in the year 1933 at Lahore was shifted to Chandigarh during 1961. Over the years many full-fledged forensic science laboratories were established in various states.

A post of Commandant was created during 1958 to look after the overall functioning of all these establishments, which had different roles but with the common larger goal of providing appropriate scientific inputs to the criminal investigation process and administration of criminal justice in the country. Their main objective was to train the operational police personnel in modern scientific techniques of crime investigation, with a view to improve their professional standard and efficiency.

The role of central advisory committees The Union Government, during 1959, appointed two committees for the purpose of giving a lead to all the States in establishing new forensic science laboratories and improving the existing ones, and for improving the study and application of Forensic Medicine. The Central Medico-legal Advisory Committee was to advise the Central and the State Governments on matters pertaining to medico-legal procedures and practices. The Central Advisory Committee on Forensic Science considered the issues related to the sphere of Forensic Science excluding forensic medicine.

This academy started a biennial scientific journal, the history and development of forensic science served as a forum for the exchange of ideas in forensic science with the other international bodies.

In fact, it was at the instance of this Academy that the Government of India established the Neutron Activation Analysis Unit to cater for the forensic needs in the country.

Teaching of forensic science in the universities The question of introducing criminology and forensic science as the courses of study at the university level in India was taken up with the Vice-Chancellors of various universities during 1950, but the progress made in this direction was not encouraging. The need for university teaching of criminology and forensic science was also stressed in various annual meetings of the Central Advisory Committee on Forensic Science. As a result of these discussions, Dr DS Kothari, the then Chairman, University Grants Commission set up a high level committee to advise the Commission on the steps to be taken for introduction of Criminology and Forensic The history and development of forensic science in university education.

It recommended that universities should be encouraged to introduce courses in Criminology at the under-graduate level and postgraduate courses in Criminology and Forensic Science should be started only in a central autonomous institution, which should be affiliated to a university.

Consequently three Universities viz. It was further suggested that, as an initial step in this direction, one institute under the Central Government should be established in Delhi. The Committee recommended those two courses viz. It was felt that unless the State governments and the consumer organizations agreed to participate in the scheme, it would not be wise to start courses for granting postgraduate degrees.

However, the ultimate objective of the Institute was to develop into a full-fledged academic institution affiliated to a university.

With the above aim in view, the Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science ICFS was established in Delhi during 1971 with the limited objectives of imparting training to the in-service personnel and conducting research in Criminology and Forensic Science. It was also envisaged that the Institute should have two distinct faculties viz. He strongly recommended for creation of a post of Chief Forensic Scientist in the Ministry of Home Affairs to look after its forensic science activities and to pay whole time attention for the development of this science in India.

The Standing Committee on Forensic Science, during 1973, also recommended for the creation of a post of Chief Forensic Scientist so that the activities, which needed scientific inputs at the Union Government level, could be properly coordinated.

In pursuance of these recommendations, the Government of India declared the history and development of forensic science forensic science institutions, at the central Government level as Science and Technology institutions. In the first phase, the three Central Forensic Science Laboratories at Calcutta, Hyderabad, and Chandigarh were restructured into six scientific division viz. Similarly, the offices of the Government Examiners of Questioned Documents at Shimia, Calcutta, and Hyderabad were strengthened in terms of manpower.

Hence the utility of three CFSLs at the national level was questioned. One, they should act as epitomes of quality and high standards for the State Laboratories to emulate. They should not only set visibly higher standards in quality of analytical processes and reporting accuracy, but also should be the repository of Standards and benchmarks against which the performance of all the State FSLs can be judged. Every new research, development and invention in any discipline of science should have a potential of application in forensic science.

Newer, better and more reliable technologies developed in all the disciplines need to be harnessed for the fight against crime. In order to perform this yeomen service, the CFSLs need to maintain very high standards and specialization, way beyond what is possible in the State FSLs. Consequently, during 1998, the three CFSLs were reorganized with an aim to generate synergy and focus attention on research and development activities in the thrust areas of forensic science.

The designated fields were chosen as follows: The implementation of this state-of-the-art technique represents significant advancements in the forensic biology in the country. This laboratory, after being functional, has been referred many crime cases pertaining to murder, rape, rape and murder, paternity disputes, organ transplant, exchange of babies in hospitals etc.