Forensic Science Laboratory Meghalaya

State Forensic Science Laboratory Meghalaya, had been established with effect from January 1987 only. The Laboratory is still in the formative stage of the development. Initially, the Laboratory was functioning from rented house at Oakland and Lumshyiap respectively and from 1994 it has been shifted to this present building. As against a comprehensive, Forensic Science Laboratory with 10 to 12 Technical Divisions, recommended by the BPR&D Committee, this Laboratory is functioning with only 4 (four) Technical Divisions viz.
Physical Division for Examination of Firearm ammunition, Exhibits from accident cases, Explosive substances, Metal & Metallic fragments etc.
Chemical Division for Examination of Drugs & Narcotics substances, Chemicals, Fire debris, poisons, viscera for determination of causes of death.
Biology Division for Examining exhibits like Dead bodies and Skeletal remains, Plant, Poisons, Blood, Semen and other body fluids for murder and rape cases etc.
Questioned Documents Division for Examination of forgeries, Currency notes and others Document cases. The Laboratory is headed by a Director and is functioning under the overall control of the Director General of Police.
Apart from the Analytical work inside the Laboratory, the staff of the Laboratory have to depose evidence in the Court of law and help the Investigating Officers in the Crime Scene as and when called for.
Development of Mobile Forensic Science Laboratory

In a crime, the accused and the victim meet at the place of occurrence, They came into contact and thus exchange evidence material, leave evidence at the place of occurrence and carry away traces of evidence from the place of occurrence. Therefore visit of crime scene is most important. With this view in mind XIth Finance Commission had recommended Seven District Mobile Units to the 7 (Seven) District of Meghalaya.

Mobile Forensic Science Laboratories are housed in a vehicle and should go to the Crime Scene with simple Equipment, Test Materials and Photographic aids to record the crime scene and to collect all the clue materials available not only in the Place of Occurrence but also from the possession of the victim and the suspect. Later on, these clues materials are examined in the different divisions and report is submitted to the forwarding agency. Two such mobile Forensic Science Laboratories are already established at Shillong and Tura.

New Role of Forensic Science Laboratories: Recommendations of National Human Rights Commission. National Human Rights commission, in their recent report on Forensic Science has made some important observations.

"Control of crimes lies in punishment more certain rather than severe. Neither brutality nor severity but it is certainty that makes punishment an effective deterrent. In such a situation only Forensic Science can offer objective and reliable evidence.

Human Rights Commission therefore recommends that Forensic Science Laboratory organisations should be restructured into a professional, flexible, open,table, objective and need driven unit encouraging following work culture and values
Autonomy in working.
Optimal resource backing.
Usage of State of the Art Technologies.
Research and Evaluation having integrity and objectivity.
Service of highest possible quality.

For achieving these goals, it has made certain important recommendations as under:-

  1. Forensic Science Laboratories to place directly under the Home Ministry, should be headed by a Forensic Scientist, with full autonomy to monitor funds and ensure progressive development of Forensic Science in a time bound manner. A State Forensic Science development council should be formed with the Principal Secretary (Home), Finance Secy., Director General of Police of the state, Chief Forensic Scientist BPR&D and Director of the Forensic Science Laboratory to monitor the development of Forensic Science.
  2. Establishment of Zonal Laboratory in each Police Range and District level mobile units (DMU) in every district to render Forensic help to the Investigating Officers.
  3. Improvement of the Laboratory environmental conditions with adequate space, equipment and staff.
  4. Residential accommodation should be provided to all the Laboratory staff.
  5. 20% of Modernisation of Police grant with a matching grant from the state should be allocated to Forensic Science Laboratory every year.
  6. The Laboratory should be brought under plan budget by treating it as a Science and Technology Institutions.
  7. Director Forensic Science Laboratory should be an Officer of the rank of Scientist G (equivalent to Inspector General of Police) of DRDO or ICAR Organisations.

As against these high expectations, Forensic Science Laboratory, Meghalaya, is functioning with a handful of staff and bare minimum facilities as detailed below.

Existing Staffing Pattern
The Laboratory had adopted a staffing pattern similar to that recommended by the BPR&D Committee. However, due to paucity of fund, almost half of the required staff, even for the four existing Divisions mentioned above, are not yet sanctioned. As a result, the Laboratory is functioning with only a skeleton of staff as shown below and Division-wise available manpower are shown in the following Hierarchy Chart.

Organisation Chart

Activities
At present the Laboratory regularly receive and examine almost all type of exhibits (except DNA Testing) coming from different districts of Meghalaya. Numbers of cases received examined and pending for last three years are shown in the table below:

Year Chemistry Division Biology Division Documents Division Physical Division Total of Cases:
Received Disposed Received Disposed Received Disposed Received Disposed D Received Disposed
1998-1999 52 39 47 38 23 31 101 55 223 163
1999-2000 60 52 41 54 29 15 137 95 267 216
2000-2001 51 60 43 29 21 37 91 108 206 234
Grand Total for last three years = 696 613

Examination facilities available in FSL, Meghalaya

  1. Arms and Ammunition.
  2. Soil, Fibre, Glass, paint, Erasure & Obliteration etc.
  3. Hair, Fibre plant & vegetable materials, skeletal remains etc.
  4. Blood, Semen, Saliva and others Biological stains.
  5. Identification of authorship & handwriting. Erasure obliteration & Fake Currency notes. Forgery in Documents, Printed materials.
  6. Drugs & Narcotics and common Chemical analysis.

Facilities to be created in FSL, Meghalaya in the near future:-

  1. Examination of Explosive devices and live bombs.
  2. Micro samples like single fibre, Pulp & paper identification in Currency note, traces of chemicals & drugs found in the possession of the suspects.Characterisations of unknown chemicals, unburnt explosive powder or Flake etc.
  3. DNA Examination of Biological sample.
  4. Solvent extraction facilities for Toxicology work.
  5. Detection of Fake Currency Notes printed with Modern techniques.
  6. Speaker Identification & Voice Print Analysis.
  7. Intercom, Local Area Network (LAN) & Internet Facilities.
  8. Office Automation & Computerisation of records.

Equipment:

Most of the basic Laboratory Equipments have already been purchased for the Laboratory as shown in the Annexure-I .

Annexure – I

The Laboratory had already procured a good number of sophisticated Equipment as listed below:-

1. U.V. Visible Spectrophotometer with accessories Shimadzu Model 2401, Japan .
2. FTIR Spectrophotometer with Accessories & Spares Shimadzu Model 8101, Japan . (Not working).
3. Gas Chromatograph with capillary column. Chemito Model 8610.
4. Reprovit Unit & Camera. Leica , Germany .
5. Waters HPLC Equipment with Millennium Software. Waters, GmbH , Austria .
6. Millipore Milli Ro & Milli Q Water Purification System.  
7. Atomic Absorption Spectrometer Shimadzu AA 6200, Japan . (Not working).
8. 5 Pen Polygraph. Lafayette Instruments, USA .
9. Leitz Large Forensic Comparison Microscope with Camera. Leica , Germany .
10. Video Spectral Comparator VSC -1. Foster & Freeman Ltd., U.K.
11. Twin video Comparator TVC/TC. Foster & Freeman Ltd., U.K.
12. Binocular Research Microscope with Dewinter Software for image processing Olympus & De-Winter, India .
13. CAMAG HPTLC Equipment CAMAG Switzerland
14. Projectina Portable Video Spectral Comparator. Projectina Switzerland
15. Binocular Florescence Microscope. Carlzeiss Germany
16. Pharmacia Electrophoresis Equipment Pharmacia USA

However, certain more sophisticated Equipments as shown below to be purchased in near future.

  1. Scanning Electron Microscope with Energy Dispersive X-Ray Spectrometer (SEM-DEX for examination of Physical & Biological exhibits.
  2. VSC-2000 Equipment for Questioned Documents Examination.
  3. DSC-TGA Thermal Analysis Equipment.
  4. At least 5 (Five) numbers of vehicles are required for using as Mobile Crime Scene Units in the District Head Quarters of the State.

No Zonal Laboratory had so far been established in the State of Meghalaya . Establishment of a Zonal Laboratory at Tura for the Garo Hills Districts is highly essential.

Significant Achievement

Even with the limited resources, some Research and Development Activities on Forensic subjects had been carried out in different divisions of this Laboratory. A good number of Research Papers have been published & presented from this Laboratory. Following significant works are mentioned herein:-

  1. A Research Paper entitled "Study of Haemoglobin for estimation of Age of Blood Stain" jointly authored by MS. D.R. Lyngdoh & Dr. K.C. Baruah, had bagged Young Investigator Award in the 14th Meeting of the International Association of Forensic Science held at Tokyo in 1996 which is also published in the "Current Topics in Forensic Science Vol. II".
  2. Dr. K.C. Baruah, Director, Forensic Science Laboratory had been conferred with the Home Minister'S Award for outstanding work in Forensic Science and Development of New Technique for the year 1996.

Director had successfully completed the NABL Assessors Course in the year 1998 and acquired the status of assessor of Laboratory.