The Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology of Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital (LTMG) also known as Sion Hospital, recently organised the 16th Annual Conference of Medico Legal Association of Maharashtra (September 30 to October 2).
Some of the dignitaries invited to the event were police top brasses, forensic surgeons and scientists, lawyers and NGOs working for women and children’s rights, among others. Yet, representatives from the city, Thane police commissionerate and the Railways were conspicuous by their absence. Just two representatives of the city police attended the three-day conference.
Dr Rajesh Dere, professor and organising secretary of Sion Forenscion 2012, said, “The functioning of criminal justice system is incomplete without police, judiciary and forensic (medicine/science) machineries working together. The conference was held with an aim to provide a platform to enhance knowledge in the said areas by experts like Dr Clifford Perera, consultant at Asian Human Rights Commission, Hong Kong. He spoke on Child Abuse and the shadow it casts on the victim’s life.
Dr Asha Bajpai of TISS spoke on legal implications of child abuse. Dr Harsh Sharma spoke on the importance of crime scene re-construction. Dr Rajiv Jerajani, forensic psychiatrist spoke on psychological evaluation of the victim, while Justice BC Patel, a member of National Human Rights Commission, shared his vast judiciary knowledge.”
Dere said it was unfortunate that the police lost a good opportunity to enhance their knowledge by understanding the basic scientific principles of forensic science and medicines, which if used properly, will help them in solving cases. Dere added he would write to Home Minister R R Patil, pointing out the poor police attendance at the event.
“Last year, a similar conference was held at Loni in Shirdi district and was attended by over 80 police officers from various rural police stations. But this time, despite prior intimation to senior IPS officers and organising the event in the city, the police attendance was very poor,” Dere said.
When suggested that the reason for poor police attendance could be deployment of the force on Ganeshotsav bandobast, Dere said, “Officials of a local police station are the first to reach the crime scene and even if one official from each of the 90 police stations had attended the seminar, it would have helped them change their traditional approach towards reconstruction of crime scene and detection of crime using scientific methods.”
Police surgeon S M Patil admitted that had the police officials attended the conference they would have been benefited immensely, but missed out on the opportunity due to round-the-clock bandobast duty during Ganeshotsav. Dr Adarsh Kumar, a medico legal expert with National Human Rights Commission, Delhi, said, “The clandestine approach of senior police officers towards science and technology is evident with the very fact that there were hardly any police presence at the conference. The need of the hour is to move from traditional policing methods of investigation to scientific methods, which will help detect crime and get maximum convictions. Unfortunately, this is not understood by our police.”
The other side
Government Railway Police (GRP) Commissioner Prabhat Kumar said, “We had some delegates from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) visiting us on October 1. Hence we could not attend the conference. We will ensure that the next time such a conference is held, GRP officials are a part of it.” K P Raghuvanshi, Commissioner of Police (Thane), admitted that they could not send any of their police officials to attend the seminar due to existing law and order situation in the district during the said period. He said, “Such seminars are very useful for our police officers in probing crime using scientific/forensic assistance. I will ensure that our officers do attend such seminars in future.”