Police photographers don`t know what to click: Police

Lensmen of Delhi Police crime team "do not know what to click and from which angle," a Delhi court has said.

New Delhi: Lensmen of Delhi Police crime team "do not know what to click and from which angle," a Delhi court has said while emphasising the need for vigorous
training to ensure that their "highly unprofessional work" may not lead to "serious miscarriage of justice."

Lamenting the poor works of photographers in clicking pictures at a crime scene and the body of the victim of a 2007 murder case, the court asked the city police chief to "formulate a specific training course for photographers and other crime team members in consonance with the best practices adopted by pivotal investigating agencies the world over."
Additional Sessions Judge Surinder S Rathi made the critical remark against the Delhi Police photographers while acquitting six persons in a 2007 murder case for want of sufficient evidence and due to poor probe.

The court noted none of the five photographs on record helped the trial as the crime team had not taken even a single photograph of the actual site and of the deceased showing the details of the injuries suffered by him.

"As far as the photographing the spot of assault is concerned, I see that Delhi Police photographers are so poorly trained that they absolutely do not know as to what to click and from which angle.

"Focused photographs of one sq. ft. area containing blood drops are of no avail to the prosecution in so far as it does not throw any light on the surroundings," ASJ Rathi said.

He also sought to know as to why the crime team or at least its photographer did not visit the hospital or the mortuary to take photographs of the deceased so that the court could have a clear view of the nature of the injuries.

The court also noted that in the particular case, as the crime team reached the spot at night, the photographer should have carried suitably powerful flashes or else should have come the next day as well to cover the area`s topography.

"Unless immediate steps are taken in this regard, poor unprofessional quality of work of the crime team can lead to serious miscarriage of justice in many heinous cases," he said.

ASJ Rathi also suggested making digital cameras a part of the investigating officer`s kit so that site plans can be accompanied with photographs of the manner in which recovered articles were lying when the police team reached the spot.

"By issuance of a standing order, the office of the worthy Commissioner of Police, Delhi can make the photographing of recovered articles at the spot and the spot
of recovery during the investigation mandatory," he added.

"The IOs shall use their tool kit cameras to photograph the injured as well. This will not only help trial courts in understanding the nature, gravity and seat of injury but will also help courts in identifying the victims of crime during trial while ruling out the possibility of impersonation," the court said and asked the police to file a progress report before it.

The order of the court came in a 2007 murder case where the police had accused six west Delhi residents, including a 70-year-old woman, of killing their neighbour who allegedly had an affair with their kin.

Noting that the trial in the case took four-and-a-half years even as there were only 38 witnesses, the ASJ asked the police chief to formulate ways to implement "benevolent provisions" of procedural laws like giving evidence of formal
witnesses by way of an affidavit instead of them being summoned to the court.


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