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DNA test in rape cases

The Council of Islamic Ideology, headed by Maulana Muhammad Khan, has ruled that that DNA test is unacceptable as primary evidence in case of rape but can be used as secondary or circumstantial evidence to support direct or substantive evidence.

He also added that ‘Islamic procedure’ should be adopted during investigation.

This edict must have shocked all those who have even rudimentary knowledge of DNA in forensics.

In modern criminal investigation, DNA has proved to be a vital incontrovertible evidence as DNA like fingerprints of no two persons is the same.

The process is quite simple. Body tissue cells like hair, blood or other body fluid, etc, of the victim of the rape and the suspect are put to DNA test. If the DNA sequence in both the samples is the same, it conclusively proves that the cells are from the same person responsible for the crime.

The learned Maulana while speaking about DNA perhaps had in mind only the Offence of Zina (Enforcement of Hudood) Ordinance, 1997 which, for the punishment of zina liable to ‘Hadd’, requires at least four adult male truthful witnesses, all of them should be present and have actually seen the act.

However, offence of simple Zina under section 376 of the Pakistan Penal Code does not require evidence of four truthful male eyewitnesses to the act, if there be such an orgy. Even the solitary evidence of the victim herself, let alone DNA test, can sustain rape conviction.

S.M. ANWAR
Karachi

Dawn

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