Forensic sciences have evolved remarkably over the past two and a half decades. Advanced forensic tools have erupted as scientific marvels which have made criminal justice a concrete and credible enterprise. DNA typing, physical evidence databases and related scientific instrumentation are some of the tools that have become the identity of a forensic approach. Still, due to limited resources, they are not employed in most criminal investigations . When evidence from a crime scene is investigated by forensic experts the probability of getting closer to the criminal and to the way the crime took place is increased. However, in India forensics is not considered a necessity in most of the cases.2
Forensic science is a method of gathering and examining information about the past related to a crime. The same is then produced in the court of law. The origin of the word Forensics is Latin ‘forensic’, means of or before the forum. the term dates back to the roman times. A group of public individuals would constitute the forum.and the accused and the accuser would give speeches on their behalf. The outcome of the case.was decided by analyzing which of the two speeches had the best argument and delivery3. There are two modern usages of the word forensic, as a form of legal evidence and as a category of public presentation.
The term Forensic science is the compact term used for the collecting together of scientific procedures which can be utilised when it comes to providing evidence for a crime and simultaneously allows the investigators to gain insight into how the crime has been or may have been committed .In today’s world where modern day criminals have devised new ways of committing crimes hence it has become indispensable for the investigation agencies to adopt scientific methods to fix the criminality upon these criminals in the court of law and make the investigations more result oriented.4 Now since heinous crimes like rape, murder, culpable homicide, dacoity and robbery are being committed in newer and more complex manner the methods of investigation which can be used to prove the criminality should be in accordance to those new ways of committing crimes so that the ways of proving always have an upper hand and criminals will get punished which will strengthen the faith of the general public in the Judicial System of the country.
The conventional way of gathering evidence is still used by detectives and investigators, but there is one main difference. The availability of scientific analysis, has allowed for a lot of the useful evidence to come into picture. In the absence of this science, it would be difficult to come closer to convicting criminals for a crime. common theft to a homicidal rampage case couldn’t be solved unless an eyewitness was available to the investigators.
Murderers thieves and the drug traffickers would continue with their criminal affairs. Modern times are fortunate enough to be able to use science as a tool in solving crimes. Evidences are treated as scientific evidence and this allows the use of technology to intervene in the investigation procedure. Thus the clues that are left behind by criminals trace back to them much easily because of the application of science in the investigation. The science involved in dealing with criminal investigation is what is termed as Forensic science. A lot of valuable information can be acquired from the scientific evidence if it is collected without any contamination. law enforcement agencies need to educate themselves about the methods and use of forensic sciences as they are the first to get a hand on the crime scene.
Various laboratory methods are used to study and decipher physical evidence collected from the crime scene. These laboratory techniques are potent enough for developing data from the physical clues left at the crime scene. This data can further help in coming closer to what happened at the scene and determine who was involved and who was not.2
Electronic databases which have recently been introduced have given much importance and worth to forensic science within the criminal justice system. A reference standard was needed before ivestigators could come up with a conclusion of common origin. This practice was prevalent till mid-1980’s Historically, and up until the mid-1980s, the investigators needed a reference standard before they could make a statement of the common origin. A set of fingerprints from one or more suspects was mandatory before any latent fingerprints from the crime scene were worked upon to identify the offender.2 Also the manual filing systems were useless in matching the latent print with the prints of their owner. Similarly, a biological sample from the suspect was required before determining the source of semen or blood from a crime scene.
With the advancement in computer science, effective techniques were developed to store and digitize complicated patterns and images like firearms and fingerprints. Such developments enabled investigating authorities to search large databases. The first system that was introduced for storing fingerprint information was AIFS. It helped with confirming the identities and the fingerprints of those arrested. This system also enabled to use the latent prints collected from the crime scene and thus help in pointing out the guilty.
CODIS which was introduced in 1990 (FBI’s CODIS Program), made it possible for the law enforcement agencies to store DNA profile information from well-known offenders. It also helped to compare such files with the DNA profiles of unidentified offenders collected from crime scenes. In recent years significant success has been recorded by law enforcement agencies and forensic laboratories in determining and identifying unknown offenders. CODIS also helps in finding links between crimes and thus enables to know whether a set of crimes were committed by the same person.