This article is written by Kalyani Gupta, a Master’s in Law student from Amity University, Noida. This article discusses the meaning and scope of Forensic Science along with different kinds of methods used.
Forensic science can be described as a study and use of science to issues of law. This link of science and law offers new techniques and methods for finding the reality. The word “forensic” is obtained from a Latin word “forensis” which implies ‘forum’, a public spot where, in the Roman times, senators discussed and conducted judicial proceedings.
Forensic science is a consolidative subject linking numerous areas of learning which are used for examining crime scenes and gathering evidence to be used in the prosecution trial of criminals in the court of law. The methods of forensic science are used to examine compliance with international treaties involving weapons that can cause mass destruction. Previously, the major areas used in forensic science were biology, chemistry, and medicine. Forensic specialists give an essential source of information whether international or domestic for criminal proceedings. “Their knowledge from mass graves is not an exception: findings from exhumations and examinations have featured in the ad hoc tribunals’ trials and judgments”. The statistic is that not many professionals are trained with the knowledge required to fully apply the ability of science in legal civil, criminal, and family matters.
Scope of Forensic Science
The area of forensic science is so broad and diverse that currently it has become an essential ‘working horse’ for delivering justice. The present-day situation in India of criminal investigations and prosecution is rather bleak. In India, a huge number of tracks end up in releases. Both official and unofficial figures are included in it. When it’s official then it is about 90% and when it is unofficial the figure is even greater.
In India, the inquiry of crime and prosecution of people who have committed the crime is not that great. Even in outrageous crimes a large number of offenders are not prosecuted and a few proportions of trials end up in release or acquittal because of which several criminals along with crimes are increasing regularly. These recurrent acquittals are primarily because of outdated procedures of inquiry and investigation which lead to numerous ambiguities. Thus, for genuine investigation scientific methods of investigation are required.
The need for the use of science in the spreading of criminal justice has evolved from the following aspects:
- Societal Vagaries: The society is experiencing changes and that too at a very quick speed. India has undergone a radical shift and has changed from an imperial colony into an autonomous republic. Modern innovation has touched all the ways of life including communication or transportation. But this transformation has not been positive as such, but it has affected negative individuals as well as the satellite interaction which is assisting and helping the intelligence agencies and proved it as a boon to the criminal minds.
- Obscurity: The change in the techniques of transportation and altering of social paradigm from rural to urban literally helped and enabled the criminals to evade from instant arrest and punishment for the commission of crime. The criminals with the assistance of improved services can go into hiding in any area of the city or can travel hundreds of miles away from the target where the crime was committed in a very short period of time.
- Technical Know How: The technical expertise of an ordinary man has improved which has developed the ways of committing the crime and in order to fight with these enhanced techniques of committing crime by the offenders, the technique and methodologies of fighting the said crime should also get advanced and updated.
- Extensive Arena: The field of business of criminal law is expanding at a tremendous rate. Legally the crime and criminal used to be local, and typically age-old methods were used for perpetrating the crime but now both national and international crimes are a common occurrence. “Smuggling Drug Trafficking, financial frauds and forgeries offer a wide and over expanding field”.
- Better Evidence: Usually the physical evidence evaluated by an expert is extremely intent in nature, like for example if a fingerprint is discovered at the crime scene, it is perceived to be of only one person. If that person turns out to be the suspect in the crime occurred, he must account for his mere presence at that crime scene. Similarly, if a bullet is retrieved from a dead body, it can be ascribed to one firearm or gun. If this gun turns out to be of the accused, he must be held responsible for its participation in that crime. Such type of evidence is always provable.
Different Kinds of Methods Used
- Forensic Odontology: This helps in finding the victims when the dead body is left in an unrecognizable condition. It is achieved by analysing and examining the teeth, alignment of the mouth and the whole mouth structure. ‘Forensic dentists’ or ‘odontologists’ help with a person’s relative identification by examining the teeth’s expansion and anatomy, and any recuperative dental corrections such as a teeth filling. This can also be used for analysing bite marks in criminal investigations.
- Forensic Toxicology: Chemicals which are legally identified as having the abuse possibility are deemed as controlled elements. This involves drugs which are illegal for example – “cocaine or heroin and prescription medications like oxycodone”. Discovering and acknowledging these drugs play a crucial role in helping the legal enforcement authorities tackle opioid addiction and violence because of drugs. This division of forensic science is of a very crucial importance in situations like road accidents, poisoning, sexual assault etc. The reports of toxicology offer vital specifics on the presence of any incident which is related to drugs. Because of different types of drugs being created on an everyday basis, this particular branch of forensic science is constantly changing and needs to update its approach.
- Forensic Anthropology: This branch deals with the analysis of broken or damaged remains of the human body or skeletons to evaluate the age, height, gender, and background. It also helps by identifying and assessing injuries to ascertain the time passed since the time of death of that person. The research recommends valuable clues on identification of the victim, particularly in those cases where the dead bodies are beyond identification.
- Impression and Pattern Evidence: “Evidence for impression is that evidence which can be produced when two objects come into contact with enough power to create an impression”. This can involve a two-dimensional idea such as a fingerprint, or a three-dimensional notion like a bullet mark. Analysis of the pattern evidence involves finding and assessing extra details surrounded by a given assessment. When applied in conjunction, influence and pattern evidence can assist in forming crucial links between a suspect to a scene of crime.
- Forensic Pathology and Medicolegal Death Investigation: Forensic pathology aids with the inspection and examination of the dead body in evaluating the cause of death. Forensic medicine involves assembling and examining the medical samples to determine facts which are acceptable in court. Discovery of wound patterns, for example, can help in finding the weapons which might have been used to perpetrate the wound. Moreover, forensic pathologists may examine weapons used in deaths concerning wounds of exit and entry.
- Trace Evidence: The examples of “trace evidence” involve substances such as – fibres, dirt, hair, bullet residue, wood, and pollen. It draws its name from its capability to be effortlessly exchangeable in the path of a crime between pieces, people, or climate. Trace evidence also plays a very important role in connecting the offender to the victim.
- Cyber Forensics: Cyber Forensics involves the research or study of electronic information and data and physical storage space devices such as pen drives, hard disks, etc. The key purpose is to identify, store, recover, assess, and present facts and views on digital content. This is mainly used to indict cybercrimes and civil events.
- Ballistics: Ballistics is a very distinct forensic science involving – “motion, actions, movement, angular motion, and projectile impact, such as bullets, rockets, missiles, bombs, etc”. Ballistics were utilized primarily in criminal investigations. Analysis of the bullets found at a crime scene, for example, it can reveal the kind of gun which was used to fire and whether or not it was engaged with any more crimes in the past. Also, the ballistic details are documented in a massive database that the legal enforcement agencies around the world can have access to.
Forensic science is an evidenced process which includes numerous areas of science. It comprises further progressive thinking and modern medical technology. Forensics involves a specialist who can gather biological samples while taking vital precautions during gathering, like proper handling, suitable storage of biological samples for example blood, semen, saliva, hair etc. Forensic science can contribute a lot for obtaining speedy justice to the society if appropriate measures are taken for due and efficient execution. The prominence statements from the forensic scientists shall certainly fulfil the hope of the people from the professionals of forensic. Currently, because criminals are adopting new contemporary complex techniques in executing the crimes, so, it is not feasible to solve the crime without using the new systematic technique.
Therefore, the significance of forensic science is rapidly increasing in the current time with the assistance of forensic science and its innovative techniques the enigmatic crime can be effortlessly solved.
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