Shreya Rastogi

Shreya Rastogi

Shreya heads the work on forensics and death penalty litigation at Project 39A, National Law University, Delhi. She completed her Masters in Law from New York University School of Law.

Location New Delhi, India


  • Yes, you will receive a certificate.

  • @SamiA Thank you for your active participation! Glad that you enjoyed the course. :)

  • @SamiA That's true, such evidence should not be used for conviction. However, many jurisdictions, including India, continue relying on such evidence. While this may not be the sole basis of conviction, it may be a part of the prosecution's case and courts may often consider it during sentencing too, while judging the heinousness of the offence.

    Also, even...

  • @MaryAnnUnger Thanks for actively engaging with the course, Mary. We hope to develop these lessons further in the future editions.

  • @SamiA Ah, great idea! Hope this is helpful :)

  • @MaryAnnUnger Even with 3D scans of the suspect dentition, distortions are bound to arise during the overlay with the suspected bitemark. As explained in this lesson, this method would suffer from the discrepancies between the 2D image of suspected bitemark overlaid with 3D image of dentition. Also, as is the case with all methods of bitemark analysis, the...

  • @MaryAnnUnger That's true. However, many jurisdictions (including India) do not have provisions for retrial as available in jurisdictions such as Texas or California, which have junk science laws that allow re-examination on the basis of new scientific evidence which contradicts the original evidence in the case.

  • @SunidhiPandey It depends on circumstances of the case and the proximate or underlying cause of death as determined in the post mortem report. In case an examination of the internal organs is warranted on the basis of the post mortem, then a viscera report would be warranted.

  • @JamesAntony Thanks for taking the course and for your active participation. We hope to build future editions of this course covering other forensic disciplines.

  • @JamesAntony From what you describe, the deposition of this forensic surgeon is very different from his report. Therefore, it leads to concerns on what basis is he testifying to this in court if the injuries on his face etc. aren't mentioned in his report. Since his deposition in court is meant to support the expert report that he would have prepared, it is...

  • @JamesAntony Hey James, thank you for your question. So that we understand it correctly, could you explain if you are asking that since the 20 genetic markers (loci) are situated at different locations across different chromosomes, so what impact does that have on the DNA result? Or are you meaning to ask about the impact of examining very few locations...

  • @ALEXIAANAISOSAFLORES Yes, post mortem reports are provided to lawyers as part of the evidence that the prosecution/state seeks to rely on in their case. Do you know the practice in your jurisdiction?

  • @ALEXIAANAISOSAFLORES Welcome! Where are you currently studying?

  • @JamesAntony Hey James, yes we have faced similar experiences in courts. Do you think there might be ways towards changing this?

  • @ElizabethRackley Hey Elizabeth, thank you for actively participating in the course and sharing your views. :)

  • @Alifazaa Hey, glad to hear that you have started the translation of this course and that you find it useful. To discuss this further, please reach out to me at

  • @JamesAntony Thanks for sharing - it is great to hear your experience on this. Could you share how the police decides which cases to be referred to medical colleges and those that go to forensic medicine departments in govt hospitals?

  • @JamesAntony Thanks for sharing. Have you ever had cases where the other parties involved in the case - either the accused or the victim's lawyer challenged the finding of he government examiner?

  • @JamesAntony Yes, that's very true. Lack of complete documentation supporting any forensic report hampers the reviewability. It also contributes to medical examiners not maintaining such documentation in the first place.

  • @Alifazaa Hey, Glad to see you here and hope you find this course useful! Would be great to hear more from your regarding the practice of forensic examinations in Sudan. Please reach out in case we can be of any use towards the translation process. :)

  • @JodyHudec Thank you for taking this course!

  • @PadmanabhanPp Yes, the court can do that under section 293 CrPC, if the report is prepared by any forensic expert holding a designation mentioned in section 293(4) i.e. (a) any Chemical Examiner or Assistant Chemical Examiner to Government;
    (b) the Chief Inspector of Explosives;
    (c) the Director of the Finger Print Bureau;
    (d) the Director, Haffkeine...

  • @PadmanabhanPp Thank you for taking the course and for actively engaging with the materials.

  • @ElizabethRackley Hey Elizabeth, could you share the kind of materials you are provided with autopsy reports?

  • @SarahK Dental examinations and bitemark comparisons are a part of forensic odontology and therefore, must be done by a forensic dentist/odontologist.

  • @SarahK Yes, as explained in this module, bitemark comparison suffers from several foundational issues. Despite the evidence of scientific unreliability, several jurisdictions continue using such techniques not only as part of their investigation but also as evidence to convict individuals. Therefore, the aim with these lessons was to inform participants about...

  • @SarahK That's true Sarah. To add to this, I would say that building dedicated crime scene units (CSUs) who are trained in handling crime scenes and evidence collection must be attached with every investigative unit. Currently, in India, most states do not have CSUs and therefore crime scene management is solely done by the police staff and investigators, who...

  • @AkshaySingh Hey, a post-mortem report covers an external and internal examination of the body towards determining the cause of death. Whereas a viscera report covers an examination of the internal organs in the chest and the abdomen, which are preserved during the post mortem. This may include toxicological examination of the organs as well to identify...

  • @JillHind The process of crime scene management is a complicated one, and may change based on further investigation at the crime scene. Therefore, it is difficult to provide a timeline for such a process.

  • @EF Yes, it is likely that the marks made by dentures may resemble those made by natural teeth. However, as will be explained in the next few steps (3.7-3.9), the analysis of suspected bitemarks on skin are already fraught with many issues. These issues would continue to exist for marks made by dentures.

  • @KONSOVIOLA That's quite interesting. Are these approved standards by the general body of professionals freely available? Also, are the forensic reports submitted along with laboratory documentation in Uganda?

  • @KONSOVIOLA Thank you so much for your kind words! Glad you enjoyed this course. Hope you consider sharing it in your relevant networks.

  • @KeithPottTurner Thanks for sharing. That's quite interesting, especially considering the rise of genetic genealogy towards solving cold cases by analysing unidentified crime scene DNA. While scientific research into relatedness can provide useful data for genealogical analysis, the larger legal and constitutional concerns on genetic privacy and presumption of...

  • @KONSOVIOLA Glad you enjoyed it. How is the practice of forensic DNA profiling in Uganda?

  • @JillHindThat's true, public sensitization towards contamination minimization needs to be done in rural and urban areas. This needs to be done along with rigorous police training for crime scene management.

  • @KONSOVIOLA No, there are no accurate and reproducible ways of determining the time of the biting incident. Ageing of the bitemark may be attempted from the bruising caused from a bite. However, as Dr Cordner stated in 1.12, the only evidence based statement about the age of a bruise is, if you can see a yellowing, it is more than 18 hours following infliction.

  • @JillHind Hey Jill, it is true that different methods of analysis have limitations in terms of comparison of bitemarks. Therefore, it is important to keep these in mind while relying on such comparisons, either for the purposes of assisting the investigation or as evidence in trial.

  • @JillHind That's right, ensuring that biological evidence is immediately stored in the right ambient conditions (light, temperature, humidity) is crucial for maintaining its quality. In large part, this would be dependent on the strength of the crime scene management and access to dedicated crime scene units who have training in handling biological evidence.

  • @LauraPretto Hey Laura, thank you for your feedback. We will definitely consider it for our future courses.

  • @SarahK That is an interesting thought. In practice, I think that it also depends on the practice and culture of examining experts that exists in that particular jurisdiction. It is possible that the issues and areas of medical uncertainty may not be even be scrutinized within the legal system. As will be discussed in the week 6, a lot will turn on the...

  • @SarahK Hey Sarah, this would vary across jurisdictions and the type of remedy that is being pursued. For instance, in India, a complaint for medical negligence under the Consumer Protection Act has a limitation period of 2 years. However, if a criminal action under section 304A of the Indian Penal Code for causing death by negligence is pursued, the...

  • @SarahK Hey, death investigations are conducted to ascertain both the cause and manner of death. Therefore, if a person dies at home, a post mortem would be ordered to ascertain if the death was natural, accidental, suicide or a homicide. In the instances described by you, it is possible that a person's pre-existing conditions may give reason to believe that...

  • @KONSOVIOLA Thank you for sharing, that is really interesting. The questions of legal responsibility from occurrence of death due to injuries which are otherwise not sufficient to cause death can be quite complicated. They certainty lead to questions about sufficient medical basis for connecting the injury with the cause of death.

  • @KeithPottTurner Thank you!

  • @LauraJiménez Thanks for signing up!

  • Shreya Rastogi replied to [Learner left FutureLearn]

    @JoanneSaltfleet Thank you for your participation!

  • @PadmanabhanPp Yes, trial courts can certainly direct the forensic pathologist or any other expert appearing before them to produce their records. Since these records are the basis on which the post mortem report is prepared, the forensic pathologist must submit these before the court, so that it can independently review the findings. Copies of complete post...

  • @PadmanabhanPp Hey, you are right in thinking about the legal/criminal liability questions that may arise from such a death and the complications with it. However, in terms of cause of death as understood in forensic medicine, the stab wound would be considered at least as an 'underlying' cause of death, as explained by Dr. Cordner in lesson 1.4. Hope this...

  • @EF Hey, unfortunately there is no PDF version of the glossary. However, you can copy the text into a document.

  • @LauraJiménez Hey Laura, I believe this practice would vary across jurisdictions. In India where I practice, we have seen that usually the post-mortem examinations are conducted within 24-48 hours of the body being discovered. Therefore, the conditions in which the body is handled, transported, and stored before the autopsy is conducted becomes crucial.