PESHAWAR: A single-member Peshawar High Court bench has ruled that it is mandatory to conduct DNA tests on both the suspected rapist and his alleged victim in sexual assault cases according to a report by a private media outlet.
Justice Roohul Amin Khan Chamkani ruled that under Section 164-B of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), which was inserted in the law through the Criminal Law Act, 2016, samples of the DNA of the alleged rape victim and the suspected rapist should be collected and sent for examination at the earliest.
The bench gave the ruling in a detailed judgment of a bail petition filed by Umar Taj, who was charged with the abduction of a woman and sexually abusing her. The bench had accepted the bail petition on December 18 and directed the petitioner to submit surety bonds of Rs200,000 each.
In the detailed judgment, Justice Roohul Amin Khan discussed provisions of two laws, Protection of Women (Criminal law Amendment) Act, 2006, and the Criminal Law (Amendment) (Offences Related to Rape) Act, 2016. Both these laws introduced by the federal government were aimed at protection of women in offences related to sexual abuse, fornication and adultery.
The bench ruled that Section 164-B CrPC related to conducting of DNA tests shall be applicable to offences under Section 376 (Punishment for Rape) of the Pakistan Penal Code.
“Coming to the applicability of PPC Section 376, needless to say that it provides punishment of death or imprisonment of either description for a term which shall not be less than ten years or more than twenty-five years and fine for an accused proved guilty of the offence of rape, however, section 164-B Cr.P.C. provides that where an offence under sections 376 or 377 or 377-B of the Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, is committed or attempted to have been committed or is alleged to have been committed, the Investigating Officer (I.O.), shall proceed for collecting Deoxyribo Nucleic Acid (DNA) samples, where practicable, from the victim with his or her consent or with the consent of his or her natural or legal guardian and the accused during the medical examinations conducted under section 164-A within optimal time period of receiving information relating to commission of such offence,” the bench ruled.
The bench further observed: “It further provides that the DNA samples collected shall be sent at earliest for the purpose of the investigation to a Forensic Laboratory, where the same shall be properly examined and preserved.”