Libertatem Magazine

Suo Motu Case on Improper Functioning and Poor Infrastructure of FSL: Karnataka High Court

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The role of forensic science in the criminal justice system cannot be negated. The importance of forensic is not going to diminish soon, with improving and advancing technology such as the genomic sequencing, genomic regulations and detailed DNA analysis that is coming up the prominence that the sector has is in fact increasing. Therefore, the proper functioning of the laboratories that deal with forensic activities is of utmost importance especially in terms of justice delivery and criminal adjudication in the country.


On 22nd December 2020, a single-judge bench passed an order with regard to the functioning of Forensic Science Laboratories (FLS) in the State. The focal point of the judgement was the filling up the vacancies in the labs. It was brought before the Court’s attention that there were around 35,738 samples arising out of 6,994 cases that were yet to be dealt with. Out of these 35,738 samples, 6,868 samples were pertaining to narcotic cases, 3,968 samples related to DNA analysis and 9,958 relating to the authenticity of documents.

Judicial Statements

The Court noted that

According to us, the failure of the state government to provide proper infrastructure and machinery to FSL will have a direct correlation with the criminal justice system and delay will result in a violation of Fundamental Rights under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.”

The Court furthered its decision by stating

“There are no specific guidelines laid down as regards the timelines to be followed by each of the stakeholders during the above process nor is there any monitoring system established to monitor the passage of the sample from the time it was collected to the date of submission of the report in Court.”

The Court observed that

“For a state like Karnataka, which is stated to be the front runner in Information Technology with Bangalore being the Silicon Valley of the east, it is rather anomalous and unacceptable that there is only one FSL which has 13 sections functioning.”


The Court directed the Director FSL Bengaluru and Secretary of the Home Department to file affidavits on the measures to be the adopted for better functioning of the laboratories. The Court directed the state governments to draft an action plan that should contain the guidelines that are to be followed when dealing with the pending works in the labs. The government was also directed to issue timelines that are to be strictly adhered to.  The Division Bench consisting of Chief Justice Abhay Oka and Justice Sachin Shankar Magadum also called for immediate filling up of the vacant posts in the FSLs. is now on Telegram. Follow us for regular legal updates and judgement from the court. Follow us on Google News, InstagramLinkedInFacebook & Twitter. You can also contribute blog, articles, story tip, judgment and many more and help us spread awareness for a better society. Submit Your Post Now.

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