The word judicial approach means an approach to exercise the judicial rules and reviews. It is also known as judicial decision and judicial activism. The term approach is more particularly applied in connection with another term “attitude” which means “a settled way of thinking or feeling or something,typically that is reflected in a person’s behaviour. This researcher has studied and analyzed almost all the leading judgment of Indian Judiciary as well as some of the leading and relevant judgments of foreign courts, in order to draw his conclusions with respect “Judicial Approach” on the relevancy and admissibility of scientific aid, in the form of evidence collected by the use of science, scientific methods and techniques and the legal provisions prescribing the scientific procedure. The brief description of a few common problems with forensic evidence demonstrates that the shortcomings of forensic science are not so complex that prosecutors cannot understand them, defense attorneys cannot challenge them, and judges cannot bar evidence because of them. Yet over and over again forensic expert witnesses are permitted to give invalid testimony. Forensics is the scientific discipline concerned with proving criminal offenses, it proves in a way that an investigator collects, documents and analyzes all facts related to the crime. Sometimes forensic testimony fails to include information on the limitations of the methods used in the analysis, such as the method’s error rates and situations in which the method has, and has not, been shown to be valid. In some cases, forensic analysts have fabricated results, hidden exculpatory evidence, or reported results when testing had not been conducted.
The Indian Legal System is in reality based on the British Laws as all the major procedural laws in force for the time being in India owe their origin at the time of British Raj viz Indian Evidence Act, 1872, Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, Etc. Moreover, like Britain and United States of America, Indian Courts also follow the adversarial system of justice delivery, and it’s also a well known fact that the higher judiciary in Indian keep a vigil on the new development in the fields of law taking place across the globe and also about the role of science in the matters of investigations and evidence, particularly, in the criminal jurisdiction.
Admissibility of Scientific Evidence in India
In India, it is the rule under the evidence act that best evidence should be presented in all cases. The Apex court made it clear that for any sort of evidence including the scientific evidence, to make them admissible they must be proved beyond any reasonable doubt.
In the case of Kamaljit Singh v. State of Punjab1 It was held by the Supreme Court that the minor variation between medical evidence and ocular evidence does not take away the primacy of the latter. Unless medical evidence in its term goes so far as to completely rule out all possibilities whatsoever of injuries taking place in the manner stated by the eye-witness, the testimony of the eye-witness cannot be thrown out.
It is trite that where the eye-witnessess account is found credible and trustworthy, medical opinion pointing to alternative possibilities is not accepted as conclusive – State of Madhya Pradesh v. Dharkole1.
In the important judgment in Ramesh Chandra Agarwal v. Regency Hospitals1, the court explained the condition when expert opinion is required before the court. Cases where the science involved is highly specialized and perhaps even esoteric, the central rule of experts cannot be disputed.
Judicial Attitude on Forensic Science in Trials
The essential principle governing expert evidence is that the expert is not only to provide reasons to support his opinion but the result should be directly demonstrable. The court is not to surrender its own judgment to that of the expert or delegate its authority to a third party,but should assess his evidence like any other evidence. If the report of an expert is slipshod, inadequate or cryptic and the information of similarities or dissimilarities is not available in his report and his evidence in the case, then his opinion is of no use. It is required of an expert, whether a government expert or private,if he expected his opinion to be accepted to put before the court the material which induces him to come to his conclusion so that the court, though not an expert,may form its own judgment on that material.
In the case of Chunni Lal v. State of Haryana1 , it was held that the opinion is required to be presented in the convenient manner and the reasons for a conclusion based on certain visible evidence, properly placed before the court.
When an expert is summoned it is not incumbent that he himself should appear. Any officer who is working with him, conversant with the facts of the case and can satisfactorily depose in court can be deputed on his behalf. In the instant case the appellate judge wrongly refused to act upon reports and evidence of the chemical examiner on the ground that he did not himself conduct the analysis Mangaldas Raghavji Ruparel v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 19661 ,Relied on.
In Ramkaran Singh v. Emperor, it was held that no doubt the excise inspector was an expert in his own department and was able to distinguish liquors but the court should under section 51 ascertain the grounds on which his opinion was based so as to test it. In Mst. Titli v. Alfred Robert Jones1, it was held that the opinion of an expert by itself may be relevant but would carry little weight with a court unless it was supported by a clear statement of what he noticed and on what he based his opinion.
In Santa Singh v. State of Punjab1 (1970), the learned counsel has obtained support for his argument from a single bench ruling of this court, wherein the scope of section 510 of the old code of criminal procedure which corresponds to section 293 of the new code was considered the following quotation from the headnote itself could clarify the view taken in that case:
In the context, the word “report” refers to the report proper pertaining of the examination or the matter of thing forward to him and not to any incidental intimation noted or endorsed in that report section 510 ,Cr.P.C dispenses with the necessity of producing of chemical examiner as a witness in the court to prove contempt of his report pertaining to the examination. It does not dispense with the necessity of proof of any other incidental or consequential matter, about which a note has been appended in that report.
The right of a judge to put questions to witnesses is given to him by section 165, Evidence Act. The Section Says that he may “in order to discover or to obtain proper proof of relevant facts, ask any question he pleases,in any form,at any time, of any witness,or of the parties about any fact relevant or irrelevant” the rest of the section and the provisos thereto are not material here.
Supreme Court Cases – 21st Century
As an Apex Court of the Country, the Supreme Court also helps to increase the value of scientific aid in the criminal justice system. The scientific aids by way of evidence must be exercised with great care and caution and only when its exercise is necessary for the proper administration of law and justice.
The law of evidence is designed to ensure that the court considers only that evidence which will enable it to reach a reliable conclusion. The first and foremost requirement for expert evidence to be admissible is that it is necessary to hear the expert evidence.
Opinion of Medical Experts, its evidentiary Value – medical evidence is only an evidence of opinion and is hardly decisive. It is not substantive evidence- Mani Ram v. State of Uttar Pradesh1. But the opinion of the doctor who held the post-mortem examination and of the forensic science laboratory is reliable. Contrary to the opinion given by another expert who gave a cryptic report and based it on conjectures,it should not be relied upon – Nilabati Behera v. State of Orissa2.
The medical opinion being an opinion, is advisory in nature and not binding upon the court. The court has to form its own opinion considering the material data, and the opinion on the technical aspect rendered by the medical expert- Madan Gopal v. Naval Dubey.
The rarest of rare cases comes when a convict would be a menace and threat to the harmonious and peaceful coexistence of the society. The application of the rarest of rare cases. Principles are dependent upon and differ from case to case.
In the case of Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab1, before a constitutional bench of this court validity of the provision for death penalty was challenged on the ground that the same was violation of article 19 and 21 of the constitution and while repelling the contention, the court laid down the scope of the exercise of power to award death sentence and the meaning of the expression “rarest of rare cases” so as to justify extreme penalty of death.
The aim of Criminal Law should always be to reduce the level of criminality in the society by ensuring maximum detection of reported crimes; prevent and control the crime; maintain public order and peace; punish and rehabilitate those adjudged guilty of committing crimes and generally protect the life and property against crime and criminality.
Our Criminal Justice System should give particular attention to improve the investigation, prosecution and punishment of state officials who commit crimes and human rights violations. Consequently, criminals and their style of committing crimes has undergone significant changes, thus scientific orientation of the criminal justice system through the assimilation of forensic science techniques has become inevitable.
The ultimate aim of criminal law is protection of the right to personal liberty against invasions by others, protection of weak against strong, law abiding against law-less, peaceful against violence.
Crime control and criminal justice management are the products of a fair, efficient and effective Criminal Justice System as above defined. Insofar as Criminal Justice System is itself the product of multiple sub-systems such as the Police, the Prosecution, the Judiciary, the prisons and a number of co-existing social control mechanisms outside the formal state system, it is important that each of these sub-systems also accomplishes a desirable degree of efficiency and effectiveness in supporting the mission of freedom from crime.