If DNA profiling isn’t done or held back in rape cases, adverse consequence would follow for the prosecution

Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik Vs State of Maharashtra

Supreme Court

12/12/2018

REVIEW PETITION (CRIMINAL) NOS. 306-307 OF 2013 IN CRIMINAL APPEAL NOS. 145-146 OF 2011

About/from the judgment:

“We are not going to the extent of suggesting that if there is no DNA profiling, the prosecution case cannot be proved but we are certainly of the view that where DNA profiling has not been done or it is held back from the Trial Court, an adverse consequence would follow for the prosecution.”

 

In an important ruling, the Supreme Court has observed that if DNA profiling has not been done in a rape case or it is held back from the trial court, an adverse consequence would follow for the prosecution.

 

“We are not going to the extent of suggesting that if there is no DNA profiling, the prosecution case cannot be proved but we are certainly of the view that where DNA profiling has not been done or it is held back from the Trial Court, an adverse consequence would follow for the prosecution,” the bench comprising Justice Madan B. Lokur, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice Deepak Gupta said in Rajendra Pralhadrao Wasnik vs. State of Maharashtra.

 

In this case, the samples for DNA test were taken from the body of the accused and sent for DNA profiling, but the result was not produced before the trial court.

 

Taking serious note of this, the bench said: “There is absolutely no explanation for this and in the absence of any justification for not producing the DNA evidence; we are of the view that it would be dangerous, on the facts of this case, to uphold the sentence of death on the appellant.”

 

While examining this aspect, the bench said: “While Section 53-A of the Cr.P.C. is not mandatory, it certainly requires a positive decision to be taken. There must be reasonable grounds for believing that the examination of a person will afford evidence as to the commission of an offence of rape or an attempt to commit rape. If reasonable grounds exist, then a medical examination as postulated by Section 53-A(2) of the Cr.P.C. must be conducted and that includes examination of the accused and description of material taken from the person of the accused for DNA profiling. Looked at from another point of view, if there are reasonable grounds for believing that an examination of the accused will not afford evidence as to the commission of an offence as mentioned above, it is quite unlikely that a charge-sheet would even be filed against the accused for committing an offence of rape or attempt to rape.”

 

The court added there have been remarkable technological advancements in forensic science and in scientific investigations which must be made fully use of and the somewhat archaic methods of investigations must be given up.

 

“For the prosecution to decline to produce DNA evidence would be a little unfortunate particularly when the facility of DNA profiling is available in the country. The prosecution would be well advised to take advantage of this, particularly in view of the provisions of Section 53-A and Section 164-A of the Cr.P.C. We are not going to the extent of suggesting that if there is no DNA profiling, the prosecution case cannot be proved but we are certainly of the view that where DNA profiling has not been done or it is held back from the Trial Court, an adverse consequence would follow for the prosecution,” the court added referring to similar observations made in some other judgments of the apex court.

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