Admissibility of Scientific Evidences in Indian Courts

Categorizing all kinds of forensic evidences presented in court in the generic terminology of scientific evidence, this paper looks at the discerning process by which the trier of facts arrives at conclusions concerning the material elements of the case, specifically with regards to its inclusion or exclusion. Rule 702 and the Daubert precedence provide some general criteria on accepting scientific evidences/experts in court but a similarly explicit regulation or judgement is starkly missing from the Indian jurisprudence and legislations such as the Indian Evidence Act or Criminal Procedure Code. With rapidly advancing scientific inquiry rendering some of the previously acceptable science obsolete, and producing new sciences for the courts to entertain, the need of the hour is that the ultimate determination to include or exclude any specific scientific evidence or technique should be the product of constant preliminary and informed deliberations.

Pedagogical approaches to Integration of Forensic Studies in Legal Education

As is increasingly evidenced in criminal courts, scientific evidence forms a crucial part of the trial strategy. However, the use of forensic evidence in Indian criminal justice system is limited, compared to its prevalence in the West. One of the factors contributing to this is the limited awareness regarding scientific procedures and analysis which is an impediment to the critical use of scientific evidence in court proceedings. However, introducing different disciplinary teachings from natural and physical sciences into a law classroom presents its own challenges. An initial search of pedagogy literature seems to suggest limited scholarship on the pedagogical techniques that can be used to meet the challenges faced in dissemination of advanced scientific information to students from a primarily social science academic background. Deriving from the case study of the forensic science course presently being offered at JGLS, this project aims to identify the variety of teaching methods and assessment patterns that might be used to impart and assess the learning outcomes and to verify the effectiveness of each strategy design with regards to instructor, curriculum design and student perception.

Use of Pre-menstrual Syndrome as an Insanity Defense

There have been several noted cases internationally and at least one in India where the court has had to entertain a defense plea of pre-menstrual syndrome as a mitigation factor for reduced culpability to the crime. Through a study of these cases, we discuss how these cases have considered the plea, and in doing so, legally defined the condition of premenstrual syndrome as a psychological and/or physiological event that affects the defendants. In this paper, we discuss the spectrum of this syndrome and the effects that are scientifically known to be associated with it, and use this to suggest how the mental insanity clause in the Indian Law can be revisited. We also discuss the repercussions of allowing such defenses in court without adequate screening and scrutiny on modern feminism.

Crimes during the Covid-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 Pandemic of 2020 that started in Wuhan, China in December 2019 soon spread worldwide, leading to a global health crisis and lockdown in many major cities across the world. Almost all nations required their citizens to observe social distancing and only venture out in public spaces for essential needs and services. This situation also resulted in several other consequences - heavy strain on the medical systems, disruption of supply chains and jobs for daily labourers, panic amongst international travellers, harrassment and victimization of minorities. This project notes some of the criminal aspects of the events that unfolded worldwide in the wake of the COVID-19 situation and the responses of the State and law enforcement agencies in addressing these in a time of emergency.

Shankey Verma