Justice put on hold
Scores of litigants are forced to wait for justice in different criminal cases including murder and rape in Barishal region, as more than a hundred forensic reports have been pending with Sher-e-Bangla Medical College Hospital (SBMCH) for the last five months.
As the reports remain unavailable, police cannot submit charge sheets to court even after completing investigation, said officials of Barishal Metropolitan Police (BMP).
Prof ABM Nazmul Huda, the chairman of the forensic department at SBMCH, said the department cannot release the reports because there is no forensic board at the moment.
The crisis was created as he has recently gone on LPR (leave preparatory to retirement), and hence unable to head the forensic board that approves the reports. The board consists of two lecturers and a professor but the department has no professor now, he said.
Prof Huda, who is authorised to do only academic activities during the LPR period, said the department performs 500 forensic examinations every year. It ran 520 forensic tests including 301 autopsies in 2016, while the number was 525 including 301 autopsies in 2017, he said.
Till June 13, when he went on LPR, the department delivered 307 reports, but after that 130 reports have been pending, he added.
Justice seekers of Barishal division, Madaripur and Gopalganj districts depend on the medical college for forensic reports.
Emran Ahmmed, assistant commissioner of police (airport zone) of BMP, said, “Forensic report is very important for preparing conclusive and concrete report in a case.
“A criminal can be easily identified through DNA profiling, which is performed by a forensic expert. It's also mandatory to determine cause of death.”
Humayun Kabir, inspector of Barishal Metropolitan Court, said, “Police cannot prepare final reports of unnatural death cases, while the court cannot start trial process due to unavailability of forensic reports.”
Superintendent of Police (SP) of Barishal Saifur Rahman said, “I contacted the medical college authority several times requesting them to form a board, but to no avail.”
He said they have at least 25 cases pending due to unavailability of the reports.
In addition, 69 cases are pending with different police stations in the metropolitan area, said BMP Commissioner Mosharraf Hossen, adding that justice seekers may misunderstand police for the delay, but “we cannot prepare charge sheets without forensic reports.”
Prof Huda said, “There are two ways to solve the problem -- the ministry can give me the authority to sign the reports or appoint a professor to the department.”
When asked, Principal of the medical college Prof Vashkar Saha said, “I repeatedly contacted the health ministry on the issue but have not got any reply.”
He also said, “I have formed a committee; it will start releasing old reports within some days, but it's not a permanent solution.”