Monday, May 17, 2021

Forensic Science for Healthcare Professionals

 Healthcare practitioners are very likely to be confronted with forensic cases. However, due to a lack of awareness among healthcare professionals about these problems, these forensic cases are often skipped. The group of healthcare providers includes everybody who works in the hospital, from physicians to nurses, caregivers to administrative staff. Since there is no particular job description for forensic nurses in India and some other developing countries and hence, such shortcomings cause insufficiency in collection and preservation of evidence in forensic cases. It is very much required that the nurses, who manage the legal process in forensic cases, should receive training in forensic nursing in their training process and should be completely equipped with technical and legal knowledge to handle the crucial evidences in specific criminal cases. Any physical injuries caused by weapons, explosions, sharp objects, traffic incidents, fall occurrences, attack cases, intoxications, burn injuries, electric shocks, asphyxia, or any suicide attempts, murders, or suicides presented to emergency responders or health care providers are considered as police case and further subjected the forensic investigations. In such cases the legal process starts as soon as the patient gets in and received in the emergency rooms (ERs). The injuries along with the victim’s clothing may be critical in criminal investigations in order to locate the suspect, accused and/or victims. Apart from this, paediatric forensic cases are also observed as child abuses (physical abuse, sexual abuse, and emotional abuse). Nurses and other staff have tremendous responsibilities in managing the any sort of forensic cases. Healthcare professionals should know that those are forensic cases and should be informed about the relevant process. Furthermore, since emergency medical personnel are often the first to witness forensic cases, they are often associated with writing forensic reports. Healthcare practitioners and administrators who work in healthcare facilities that offer 24/7 healthcare services should be knowledgeable about the forensic case process, both to support the legal process and to protect public health. It has been observed by many researchers that most of the healthcare professionals, did not have adequate information regarding evidence protection. On many occasions, it becomes too difficult for doctors and nurses to report such cases efficiently in the court room with specific legal knowledge, liabilities, and consequences. Hence, the negative outcomes for both the victim and the assailant are possible when forensic cases are not treated properly. The healthcare professional must be informed on how to act in forensic cases, on the issues they should be careful while taking the medical history, and on the whole process. Given the frequency at which forensic cases present themselves in health facilities and the fact that healthcare professionals are constantly confronted with forensic cases, scheduling in-service trainings on a regular basis and notifying all healthcare professionals about process-related issues that must be addressed will help to avoid problems in forensic case management.

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Types of Documents in Forensic Examination (By Ms. Megha Walia, Assistant Prof. SGT University)

 Types of Document


Any writing surface containing invisible, partially visible or visible matter or writing strokes and convey certain meaning can be defined as document. 


·       Forensic documents can be classified into two categories i.e. 


(i)                      Disputed documents or questioned documents or     

suspected documents and


(ii)                     Standard documents.  


The disputed documents are the documents which are under scrutiny and are of unknown origin. 


The standard documents are the documents of known origin.  Standard documents can again be sub-divided into two categories.


(a)            Specimens or sample writings/signatures and are obtained by the I.O. from the suspect or accused in presence of witnesses or before the court


(b)           Admittedly genuine writings/signatures are normal writings written by the accused in routine course of business.


Questioned Documents are further included in the following classes:


Ø  Document with questioned signatures.

Ø  Document containing alleged fraudulent alterations.

Ø  Questioned Holograph documents

Ø  Disputed or Questioned age of dates in documents.

Ø  Question of materials from which documents are produced


·      Questioned Documents are further included in                                               

     Following classes:


Ø  Questioned Documents including typewriting’s (ascertaining source, date, alteration or substitution of pages)

Ø  Documents with questioned handwritings includes:


ü  Anonymous and suicidal notes/disputed letters.

ü  Superscriptions, registrations and other miscellaneous writings.

Ø  Genuine documents erroneously or fraudulently attacked.


1.     Document with questioned signatures.

ü  These are most common disputed documents may be commercial or legal papers such as cheques , note , receipt , draft  order , contract , agreement , assignment , will , deed etc.

ü  Signatures are generally obtained by tracing or simulating or copying process.

ü  Beside writing characteristics, ink examination is also very important. 


2.     Document containing alleged fraudulent alterations.

 Alterations are made by

ü  Erasures:- Chemical or mechanical

ü  Additions

ü  Interlineations or substitution 

ü  Sequence of strokes is also important to be examined in such cases.

3.     Questioned Holograph documents

ü  These may include rare stamps, valuable manuscripts, certificates, letter of introduction and recommendation, letters of credit, letters of famous people etc.

ü  Scrutiny includes examination of Paper & Watermarks 

         Ink, Writing, Seal impressions & Folds etc. 


4.     Disputed or Questioned age of dates in documents.

ü  These types of documents include which are purported to be ancient documents of great importance.

ü  Use of instrument for writing and origin of paper are most important for examination. 


5.     Question of materials from which documents are produced.

ü  A document dated many years before the paper was made comes under this category. (or when relative age of the document is required to be decided)


6.     Questioned Documents including typewriting (ascertaining source , date , alteration or substitution of pages)


7.     Documents with questioned handwritings include:

ü  Anonymous letters and disputed suicidal notes.

ü  Superscriptions , registrations and other miscellaneous writings.


         Beside examination of paper , writings or instrument used for writing Forensic Stylistics also plays an important role to identify the writer.


8.     Genuine documents erroneously or fraudulently attacked.

           Sometimes writer , at his command , writes more than one pattern of signature or some of the characters in writing in a document may be treated as questioned document erroneously.



Bank Documents

·      Drafts, cheques, gift cheques.

·      Account opening forms , specimen signature cards 

·      Share Certificates

·      Bank Securities 

·      Time Deposit / Fixed Deposit Receipts 


 Postal Documents

·      National Saving Certificates , Kisan Vikas Patra, Indira Vikas Patra 

·      Fixed Deposit / Time Deposit Receipts

·      Money Order forms & Cheques

·      Envelopes / Inland letters

·      Postal Stamps / Revenue stamps 


 Educational Documents

·      Degree / Diploma certificates

Marks sheets

Transfer certificates

Date of Birth Certificate

Question papers / Answer sheets of important competitive examinations

Registration / migration certificate


 Court Documents

Bail orders 

Release orders

 Judicial / Non-Judicial Stamp papers

Important Judgments of the apex courts


 Police Documents

Vehicle registration certificates

Driving licenses

Firearm licenses


Security Passes

 First Information Report formats

 Non-Cognizable Report formats


 Government Documents

Important agreements

Memorandum of understanding 

Reports / Inspection reports / Postmortem reports / expert reports


Service Books 

 ACR formats 

Cash books

Railway tickets / air tickets 

Insurance Policies




Saturday, April 17, 2021

Forensic Science as a Career Option


In present scenario, as the crime is increasing day by day, there is an immense need of a discipline that could teach the youngsters that how to detect and prevent the crime happening in the society. For this particular purpose, they have to have the specialized knowledge of the subject that could be applied to overcome all these problems rising day by day; therefore, the Forensic Science comes into the Scene. 

What Forensic Science is all about?

Forensic Science is basically the application of various scientific principles and techniques in terms of law for the purpose of Justice. The Forensic Science is that branch of science that deals with investigation, collection, examination, analysis and comparison of the evidences encountered at the scene of crime. The physical evidences are all those evidences that are encountered at a particular scene of crime. These may include fingerprints, footprints, blood, hair, fibre, semen, saliva, trace elements etc.

Fingerprint Card

Need & Scope of Forensic Science

With the rising number of incidents of crime and fraud all over the world, the scope of 
forensic science is definitely rising. Today there is an immense need of Forensic personals both in the Government as well as Private Sector. The Police labs, Crime Branches, CID, Investigation Bureau, Defense/Army, Courts, Narcotics Department, Universities, Detective Agencies, Banks, Insurance Companies and other Multi National Companies are hiring the services of the Forensic Scientists. Apart from this one can 
even engage himself/herself in private practice and can work as a freelance forensic expert for the banks, insurance companies, individual clients and other law enforcement agencies. Forensic Experts having expertise in different fields like 

Fingerprint, Handwriting, Ballistics, Toxicology, Odontology, Crime Scene Investigation and such others can collect clues from the crime scene and elsewhere and can convert them into evidences to prove a crime or to solve a case. 

Crime Scene

Education & Career Prospects in Forensic sciences

To opt a career in Forensic science one has to have the science background as most of the areas of Forensic science are the application of various branches of science in solving a crime and analyzing the evidences. Therefore, the one who is having a science background can make his/her career in Forensic Science. 

The candidates who want to make their career in forensic science can opt for any specialization from General Forensics, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic dentistry, Crime Scene Investigation, Questioned Document & Handwriting Examination, Fingerprint Science, Forensic Toxicology, Forensic Biology and Serology, Forensic Ballistics & Explosives etc. 

Several Universities including Amity University, providing both theoretical and practical knowledge to the students in various aspects of forensic science like crime scene investigation, crime scene photography, collection and examination of the physical evidences etc.

How one can be a good forensic scientist?

a.    He has to be keen observer as he has to visit the crime scene and look for the evidences so an unskilled person may overlook certain evidences but a skilled forensic scientist will observe the crime scene thoroughly and will try to gather more and more information.

b.    He must be methodical with research skills and thorough in his investigations. 

c.     He has to have Patience as many of the cases may take lot of his time just to reach a conclusion. Sometimes a forensic scientist has to analyze the evidence again and again and perform his investigation several time to look for more clues and corroborative evidences.

d.    He has to have the basic knowledge of all scientific areas and also have the skills to apply different scientific discipline in the investigation of crime and examination of the evidences

e.    The detective view and solving skills are very important for a forensic scientist.

f.      And lastly he has to have good communication skills as he has to opine in the court of law so he is to be able to explain the findings clearly to lawyers, jurors and the public. 

There are many new emerging areas in forensic science that includes Forensic Psychology, Forensic Paleontology, Forensic Genomics, Tele forensics, Forensic Accountancy, Forensic Archeology, Digital Forensic, Cyber Forensics etc.

Job Prospects for Forensic Scientists

A forensic scientist can work as a freelance forensic expert and can give his opinion in various areas of forensic science to court, lawyers and detectives, they can work in Govt. Forensic Science Laboratories on various posts, they can work as freelance Questioned Document and Fingerprint expert etc. Also they can work in banking and insurance sectors. All in all in present scenario the Forensic Scientists are in great demand to solve a large number of cases and to combat this requirement, Govt. is taking action to open more and more institutions to provide the degrees and training in the area of Forensic Science. The candidate can opt this booming area and can make career in this ocean of investigation. The Job market is very good in this booming area but one has to keep in mind that he can also be a freelance expert and can earn more in the area than a Job.


Dr. Bhoopesh Kumar Sharma

Associate Professor, Forensic Science

Forensic Expert