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Challenges for forensic odontology in India

Pratik Tarvadi, forensic odontology in India, forensic science curriculum, crime scene management, crime scene kits, ABFO scale
Forensics, unlike Western countries, India is lagging behind. Forensics with advanced technologies have taken a key substantial growth in Western countries. In India, it is lagging behind. It is at the infancy stage. We are talking about bite marks. So there is forensic odontology, which is a big role in Western countries. But in India, it is still at growing stage. In the curriculum it is still just taken in the entry. And forensic dentistry is not a separate subject. So forensic medicine, forensic dentistry which is supposed to be one subject is still at a very low level place. Over that, lack of guidelines. There are no certain guidelines to be followed for any type of analysis.
There are no protocols, no guidelines followed in India. Third is crime scene. Most often than not it is damaged by unwanted entry of people. Most important is improper evidence including photographs. As I was talking, the photograph plays a key role in bite mark evidence and the time factor plays a significant role. Evidence is not received properly then how will it give a proper conclusion? So what are the possible measures that can be taken? First and foremost, there should be a forensic medicine faculty in the investigating team visiting the crime scene. Forensic science people are the laboratory people. They are experts in laboratory. Forensic medicine are the ones that are expert with the body-human body. So there is a way difference.
Sky-earth difference. Forensic science are very very good in analysing fluids, analysing all the specimens. But anything related to human being, forensic medicine. So with forensic science people who are already there in the crime scene, there has to be a forensic medicine person. Next is, there should be a crime scene kit ready with them. Like I was talking about ABFO scale, a proper, full fledged camera. All that are dire need for a crime scene kit requirements. Third, only the assigned team members should be able to enter the crime scene. Nobody else. I do agree that before police comes itself there is so much of trespassing done. But still, how much ever more we can restrict, better will be the reporting.
And the most essential among all is the guidelines, for everything. Proper guidelines, framework, protocol to be set up, which will help everybody from the constable to the forensic medicine in continuing with their procedures correctly, Further research in bite marks that is the 3D matching using the 3D technology can be done. But before it is taken into for judicial consideration, its feasibility, its reliability, its reproducibility and with minimal errors, that is, bias, observer variations- whether intra or inter variations should be minimal. Only after such scientific grounds has been proved that it can be considered or thought for taken into judicial consideration.

In this video, Dr Tarvadi focuses on the challenges faced by the discipline of forensic odontology in India. With his expertise and experience, he highlights the challenges and possible solutions to pave the way forward. Remember, an understanding of the systemic realities is essential while scrutinising evidence in casework.

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