The Jharkhand High Court has voiced concerns over the "primitive" state of the facilities available at the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) at the State capital, Ranchi.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Ravi Ranjan and Justice Sujit Narayan Prasad noted that the urine and blood test of persons accused in the killing of judge Uttam Anand could not be carried out by FSL, Ranchi due to non-availability of the said facility and wondered what purpose the FSL served if such basics tests cannot be carried out.
"We have consider it very seriously that when the urine and blood testing facility of the accused is not available in the FSL, Ranchi, the capital of the State of Jharkhand then for what purpose this department of State is functioning. Even after more than twenty years from the date of its creation, the State FSL, Ranchi appears to be still in primitive stage," the Court stated in its order. It, therefore, directed the Principal Secretary, Home, Prison & Disaster Management, Govt of Jharkhand and Director of FSL Ranchi to appear before the Court on the next date of hearing.
The observations were made after the investigating officer (IO) inquiring into the death of judge Anand, stated that due to non-availability of the testing facility of urine and blood at FSL, Ranchi, the samples had to be sent to FSL in Delhi. This statement by the IO was part of the progress report submitted before the Court regarding the death of judge Anand who was serving as the Dhanbad Additional District and Sessions, at the time of his death. The Court was hearing the registered in the wake of death of judge Anand after a vehicle rammed into him on July 28 while he was out on his morning walk, killing him.
While it was initially believed that the death of judge Anand was an accident, CCTV footage of the incident which surfaced, suggested that the vehicle was deliberately rammed into the judge as he was walking along the edge of the road. The Court had then ordered a probe into the incident and also sought a progress report pursuant to which the same was submitted in a sealed cover. The court also took a dim view of hospital management staff for being negligent in dealing with Judge Anand's case and directed the state counsel to apprise the court as to why there "was such type of negligence by the doctor or the hospital management and/or by the police authorities and what action has been taken against them."
With regard to security of judicial officers, the Assistant Solicitor General informed the court that Supreme Court is seized of the matter pertaining to security of the Judicial Officers of the entire country and all the States are party in that case. The High Court, therefore, refrained from passing any order with respect to security arrangements of the judges in the State.
"However, since a judicial officer of the Judgeship at Dhanbad has died in suspicious circumstances, in order to boost up the morale of the officers of the judgeship at Dhanbad, we have directed the competent authority of the State of Jharkhand to make adequate security arrangement and pursuance thereto the aforesaid affidavits have been filed by the State," the Court added.