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What is Forensic Science?

Forensic science teaches policing to scientists and science to the policemen -Dr. T R Baggi [retired Director of the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad]

Forensic Science can aptly be described as the use of scientific techniques and principles in providing Justice.

Forensic Science in India

Source: This is an Excerpt from the report by the Consultants Dr. Gopal Ji Misra & Dr. C. Damodaran which was reported to the Ministry of Home Affairs, India on July 2010

Forensic Science, an amalgamation of almost all faculties of knowledge is an essential and efficient enabler in the dispensation of justice in criminal, civil, regulatory and social contexts.

Historically our forefathers in India have practised forensic application in variety of forms. Present day Indian forensics, as chronicled, owes its genesis to several British – initiated ventures such as Chemical Examiner’s Laboratory (Madras, 1849), Anthropometric Bureau (1892), Finger Print Bureau (1897), Inspectorate of Explosives (1898), Office of Government Handwriting Expert (1904), Serology Department (1910), Foot Print Section (1915), Note Forgery Section (1917), Ballistics Laboratory (1930) and Scientific Section (1936). Having subsequently undergone clubbing / regrouping / spreading, as of now, there are 28 State / Union Territory Forensic Science Laboratories (State / UT FSLs) along with their Regional FSLs (32 RFSLS) and Mobile FSLs (144 MFSLs); they are mostly with the respective Home Department either directly or through police establishment.

Present Scenario:
During 1957, the first Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL) was established at Calcutta, followed by the ones at Chandigarh (1961; traceable to Lahore – origin of 1933) and Hyderabad (1965). In 1971, Neutron Activation Analysis (NAA) Unit came into operation at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), Mumbai. Thus the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR & D) administered three CFSLs, including NAA, and three laboratories of Government Examiners of Questioned Documents (GEQD). Presently (since 2002 / 03) they are all under the Directorate of Forensic Science (DFS; MHA, GoI); CFSL, Hyderabad has in its fold the NAA Unit and GEQD, Shimla has a branch at Chandigarh.

Organizational (scientific) chart of Directorate of Forensic Science (MHA,GoI)


Another CFSL functions under the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at Delhi with a small branch at Chennai primarily serving the CBI (Figure 2). Besides, National Crime
Records Bureau (NCRB) hosts the Central Finger Print Bureau, for maintaining crime related finger print database.

Organizational (scientific) chart of CFSL, CBI

In addition to these
    • Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science, LNJN NICFS; MHA, GoI with the prime aim of imparting training to in – service forensic related personnel.
    • Forensic Science Wing at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel National Police Academy (SVP NPA; MHA, GoI), Hyderabad.
    • Institute of Serology steered by Serologist & Chemical Examiner to the Government of India functions at Kolkata undertakes some forensic serological work over and above its major activity of producing antigens, antibodies etc.
    • Several State / UT Finger Print Bureaux (mostly under the police department’s State Crime Records Bureaux).
    • Couple of Chemical Examiner’s Laboratories.
    • Few State police detachments appear to have with them trained police personnel to examine disputed documents as urgency demands.

Forensic Education:
These apart, a particularly indispensable knowledge – pillar enabling justice delivery is the medico – legal ( also known as medical jurisprudence / forensic medicine) set up in the ambit of Central / State / UT Health Ministries’ institutes, colleges and hospitals to practise clinical forensic medicine, ascertain age / sex etc of subjects, perform autopsy and opine on the cause and nature of injury / death; Madhya Pradesh Government (Home – Police – Department’s) Medico Legal Institute (Bhopal) and, to certain extent, some non-governmental universities and corporates are also in this web.

Forensic Practise:
Then come the freelance (often self – proclaimed) “Experts” who are available for a fee. The more recent developmentis that limited or comprehensive forensic service facilities have sprung up in the non – governmental private sector with or without accredited capability; and, public private partnership (PPP) is on the anvil.

Non-Government Forensic Education
There are now several academic campuses, public funded or otherwise, offering numerous courses in forensic and allied disciplines; the latest in the field is the exclusive Forensic Science University in Gujarat.

About the Admin?


  •     Masters in Forensic Science
  •     Bachelors in Medical Laboratory Technology
  •     Indian School Certificate
  •     Indian Certificate for Secondary Education

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