Who is an Expert?
I am an expert in doing sketches. How? I am passionate about sketching and drawing since my childhood and still, I practice it. I take a very short time to do any kind of sketch within few minutes compared to the capability of any other common human. Hence, It can be said as he has expertise in the art of sketching and he has knowledge on sketching where he can form an opinion or comment on other work whether it is authentic, truly hard work, commendable work or possibilities and what were the possible ingredients used to make a certain sketch.
So that was an example which gives us a better understanding of who is an expert.
A person who has special knowledge and skill in a particular branch of learning and thus qualified to give his opinion, whereas, an ordinary person is not competent to do so.
Thus, Doctors, artists, engineers, surveyors, engravers, mechanics, artisans, and the diverse classes of specifically skilled workmen would all be experts within the meaning of the expert, of course, each in his walk of life.
How can you be one?
Crimes are associated with the number of evidence like blood, bullet or a dead body. Identification or classifying any of this would easy due to definite science which is available as the experience of individuals working with a field like serologists, Ballistic experts or Doctors. This particular aspect can be learnt and it can apply to
Section 45 in The Indian Evidence Act, 1872
Opinions of experts.—When the Court has to form an opinion upon a point of foreign law or science or art.
What is foreign law or science or art? Means, Court is represented by personnel’s dealing with law and justice enforced for public welfare. I pursuit of justice there are certain aspects which are also involved like science. Representatives of court, that is judges or law Practitioners are not aware of these particular sciences like serology or physics or medicine nor they can complete the degree in few days nor they can be unethical by justifying anything on their own. They are knowledgeable personnel’s in enacting law and justice for public welfare but not to justify truth hidden within the scientific evidence like nature of injury on the body or striation marks on the bullet.
Hence, the Court needs to rely on expert opinion to understand the significant scientific evidence role of any kind of case dealt with in the court.
Doctor: As to ascertain the cause of death or time since death
Chemical examiner: identification of a questioned substance by conducting chemical examination which approved by scientific statutory bodies.
Ballistics expert: identification of alleged firearm by comparing test-fired bullet and questioned bullet.
Court believes science-based literature, research held and scientific principles or laws developed during a search of the reality behind happenings of many unknown things to mankind.
Whom will you handover the evidence to?
Just imagine if you are having an Evidence which is a “Document with disputed signature, questioned age of ink in the signature and contents on the questioned document” Whom will you handover the evidence to?
One who has just completed Masters in Forensic Science – has experience practice with demo samples or simulated samples or experience while in internship or project under the supervision of an expert. The court cannot rely on you leaving behind qualified experts but you should be having the capability to convince the court in the science subject matter thus makes you an expert. Anybody one who can prove or involve in the scientific examination of the evidence on the grounds of being intellectual in scientific principles and law which are in current practice by many of the recognized scientists can be referred and can be used to prove the truth hidden with evidence. This can be regarded as the private practice of forensic consultancy.
According to IEA 45, an opinion formed by an expert is based on recognized principles regulating the scientific study. The opinion so formed by a person having the necessary special skill in the subject is, therefore, the opinion of an expert in that branch of the science. Such an opinion is the opinion of an expert in a branch of science which is admissible in evidence under Section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act. (or)
One who has 10 years of experience dealing with similar types of cases as an expert – Similar kind of cases here means, there is plenty of complications involved in dealing with crime evidence. Hence, Experience will be vast and much expertise in nature. Many of the times experts may fail to form an opinion and where by the court will justify such conflict by itself being expert by considering other circumstantial evidence and facts of the case. Under section 73 IEA.
Though Section 73 deals with Comparison of signature, writing or seal with others admitted or proved. It has also relevance with the explanation given for court expertise.
Are there any designated experts recognized by the court?
Yes, Forensic Science Laboratories personnel’s under section 293 says Reports of certain Government scientific experts. Subsection 4 applies to the Government scientific experts, namely:-
(a) any Chemical Examiner or Assistant Chemical Examiner to Government; of Forensic Science Laboratories or Govt. Chemical Examiners Laboratory.
(b) the Chief Inspector of- Explosives; current position is Joint Chief Controller of Explosives (HOD) of Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organization (PESO).
(c) the Director of the Finger Print Bureau; both state level and central level.
(d) the Director, Haffkeine Institute, Bombay; as a bacteriology research Centre called the “Plague Research Laboratory”. It now offers various basic and applied biomedical science services.
(e) Director, Deputy Director or Assistant Director] of a Central Forensic Science Laboratory or a State Forensic Science Laboratory;
(f) the Serologist to the Government. Head of Institute of Serology that is Serologist & Chemical examiner or Assistant serologists.
So these people are regarded as experts in the court officially or they can also appoint assistants working with case actually under subsection 3 of Cr.P.C 293
This article will help to understand forensic expertise, the role of an expert in criminal justice system by providing suitable examples accordingly Indian Evidence Act Sections 45 & 73 and also gives a glance on government scientific experts under section 293 of Criminal Procedure Code.