Shivam Pandey, pursuing BBA, LL.B.(Hons.) from UPES, Dehradun.
EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF FORENSIC FINGER PRINTS IN INDIA
Examination of scientific proof is utilized in the examination and indictment in civil and criminal procedures. Frequently, it can assist with building up the blame or honesty of potential suspects. Measurable proof is likewise used to connect wrongdoings that are believed to be identified with each other.[i] In the first-place admissibility of measurable proof it is basic to realize who is a specialist additionally what is his job? How much his supposition is considered while choosing a case. A witness is an individual who is needed to express the realities which he/she has observer and not to give his deduction with respect to the equivalent. The surmising from the announcement is made out by the Court, which is a legal task. This note delves into the law that governs with admissibility of forensic finger prints and gives it evidentiary value in Indian context.
OVERVIEW OF FORENSIC EVIDENCE
The foundation or the historical backdrop of the scientific science can be followed back to ‘Aha’. The review of measurable science must be looked from the purpose of Archimedes as he is additionally called as ‘the dad of scientific science’. The utilization of measurable science began in Europe in sixteenth Century for exploring in the instances of homicide. U.S set up the Forensic Medicine Chair in Edinburgh in 1807.[ii] On other hand in America, the Medical Examiner has under their office a crime group researching bodies including a wide range of forensic sciences.[iii]
There were no acts of criminological science in the Ancient Times. The examination in criminal cases, to a great extent, has been dependent on the strategies of torment. Sir William Herchel was the principal individual who started to bring up the utilization of fingerprints in the recognizable proof of criminal suspects. It was then in 1897 that Fingerprint Bureau was built up in Calcutta and afterward after Independence, in the year 1968, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India set up Forensic Science Laboratory of Delhi Police and the Central Bureau under the managerial control of Central Bureau of Investigation.[iv]
India is one of the nations to use fingerprints in its criminal justice framework. Fingerprints can be of the fingers or the palm. The assortment of fingerprints from the wrongdoing spot assumes an indispensable job in conviction or absolution of an individual. Fingerprints are valuable not just for the distinguishing proof of the lawbreakers in the commission of a wrongdoing. Yet additionally different other characteristic which incorporates the accompanying:[v]
- Unique: since no two fingerprints are same.
- Permanent: since they can’t change and remains same throughout the life of a person.
- Universal: It is commonly seen that a criminal ordinarily abandon a portion of the proof at the wrongdoing spot and for the most part the spots of fingerprints are taken starting there, are utilized with the end goal of examination of an offense. Fingerprints permit simpler individualization and characterization.
FORENSIC EVIDENCE & EXPERT EVIDENCE
Who is an Expert? “An expert is a person who gives his opinion on a point of foreign law or of science or art, and he also follows the well accepted rules to produce an effective result or conclusion with a logical reasoning.”[vi]
Section 45 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 lays down following requirements:
- The principal prerequisite of the expert feeling is that an issue is of such a nature, that it is past the skill of a layman.
- The issue includes such clinical issue or science which is outside the information on the Court.
- The individual offering an input must have specialization in that very field.
- The evidence must be founded on dependable standards[vii]
In Baldev Raj v. Urmila Kumari “opinion of a doctor who was not a gynaecology but had knowledge of high order of midwifery as an obstetrician, was accepted as an expert.”[viii] It isn’t mandatory that an individual who is offering his input must be exceptionally qualified regarding examines, it will be sufficient that he has his expertise or specialization in a particular field.
The opinions of the expert are considered to be corroborative in nature and not conclusive in itself. That means these opinions can only be used as advisory and are not circumstantial in nature. There might be plausibility that the Court may not depend upon a similar creation of endorsement however the Court can have its own Medical Board to be set up and inspect the case. Consequently, from this perception it very well may be said that Courts are not necessarily limited by the clinical assessment of the experts. As the feeling is warning in nature.
Statutory Provisions Related to Finger Prints
- Section 2(a) of The Identification of Prisoners Act states measurement includes finger impression.
- Section 3 of the Act[ix] states that “where a person is being convicted with an offence which is punishable up to one year or more or an offence under Section 118 of CrPc 1898, allow his finger prints and photograph to be taken in the prescribed manner.”
- Section 4 The ingredients of this section are:-
- Person arrested
- For an offence punishable with one year or more
- Police Officer’s discretion to take the fingerprint of the person or not.[x]
- Section 5 underlines that a Magistrate may allow investigating officer to take finger
prints and photograph of a person which would assist the police in the investigation of crime.
- Section 6 explains that where a convict does not give his fingerprints or resists to give it then he may be charged under Section 186 of IPC for doing such an act.
As regards to the admissibility of the fingerprints in the Court, there are following sections:-
- Section 45 “The opinion as regards to the fingerprint expert shall be taken in the same manner as of the other experts. The opinion is admissible under this section only.”[xi]
- Section73 “This Section stresses upon the signature, writing , seal etc for identification of any handwriting etc have been written or made by the person or not, an expert may be called upon to give his opinion. The section also relates to the fingerprints.”
Fingerprints have the significant task to carry out in criminal cases. It helps the Police Officers additionally in the assortment of the fingerprints and afterward after legitimate assessment can be created under the steady gaze of the Court. In any case, can fingerprints be the sole premise of sentencing an individual in a criminal offense. Consider the possibility that the declaration is weak. What can be the probative estimation of the fingerprints expert? The derivation of the unique mark expert can be depended upon in the event that he evidence specific prints are not quite the same as the other. The Court needs to think about two things – a) ” question of likeness between the imprints, b) the chance of discovering fingerprints of two people comparing the same number of closeness as have been portrayed under the watchful eye of the Court by the expert.”[xii]
Further whether the fingerprints can be the sole premise of conviction or not and other such inquiries are attempted to be featured through various Case Laws as follows. The primary discussion whether an individual can be indicted on the sole premise of the unique mark evidence was just because came into question under this case, In Bazari Hajam v. Ruler Emperor “The inquiry emerged whether it will be sheltered to follow up on the weak declaration of the fingerprints and pronounce the blame of the denounced. On this point Bucknill, J., watched subsequently: ―I believe that separated from the way that I ought to be somewhat sorry with no substantiating conditions to convict an individual of a genuine wrongdoing exclusively and endless supply of thumb checks or fingerprints, the very truth of the taking of a thumb-impression from a blamed individual for the reason for conceivable assembling of the evidence by which he could be implicated is in itself adequate to warrant one in putting aside the conviction upon the comprehension and upon the supposition that such was most certainly not really a fair trial.”[xiii] The above view was opposed by Schwabe, C.J. In Public Prosecutor v. Kandasami Thevan “despite the fact that the point didn’t legitimately emerge for the situation as there were thumb-impressions of the charged in evidence other than that taken by the appointed authority in court for correlation with the thumb-impressions in the archive affirmed to have been produced”[xiv]
From the above case laws it could be seen that even before Independence, Britishers used to give a great deal of significance to the measurable evidence (unique mark being one of them). It is important to take note of that to convict an individual based on fingerprints relies on the realities and conditions of a case that could possibly be validating. Fingerprints because of the significance given before and the benefits which it use to give by understanding a criminal issue has accordingly being embraced as an a vital part of the criminal equity framework.
[i] Arindam Datt, Forensic Evidence: The Legal Scenario, 40 http://www.legalserviceindia.com/article/l153-Forensic-Evidence.html
[ii] J.H. PHILLIPS & J.K. BOWEN, FORENSIC SCIENCE AND THE EXPERT WITNESS, 20,( Sydney. The Law book company limited, 1989)
[iv] Nivedita Grover & IshaTyagi, Available at Development of forensic Science and Criminal Prosecution –India, (International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 4, Issue 12, December 2014 1 ISSN 2250-3153), 1-2
[v] See Nivedita Grover & IshaTyagi, Development of forensic Science and Criminal Prosecution –India, Supra Note 4 at 1
[vi] M.Mounir,Law of Evidence at 135, Vol 1 (16th Edn)
[vii] SECTION 45 Opinions of experts.—When the Court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law or of science or art, or as to identity of handwriting [or finger impressions], the opinions upon that point of persons specially skilled in such foreign law, science or art, [or in questions as to identity of handwriting] [or finger impressions] are relevant facts. Such persons are called experts.
[viii] Baldev Raj v. Urmila Kumari AIR 1979 SC 879
[ix] The Identification of Prisoners Act 1920
[x] Section 4-Taking of measurements, etc., of non-convicted persons.—Any person who has been arrested in connection with an offence punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term of one year or upwards shall, if so required by a police officer, allow his measurements to be taken in the prescribed manner.
[xi] Section 45 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872
[xii] Y.H. Rao& Y.R. Rao Expert Evidence
[xiii] Bazari Hajam v. King Emperor AIR 1922 Pat.73:23 Cr. L.J 638
[xiv] Prosecutor v. Kandasami Thevan AIR 1927. 696:27 Cr. L. J 1251