Kerala State Forensic Lab loses accreditation for ignoring NABL guidelines

Kerala State Forensic Laboratory. Photo:

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala State Forensic Laboratory has lost the accreditation of the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) following its failure to adhere to the NABL procedures and set up infrastructure accordingly.

The State Forensic Lab authorities kept this a secret for four months and submitted forensic examination reports with the logo of NABL during the period to various courts. Legal experts point out that with the State Lab losing the NABL accreditation, the authenticity of their forensic examination reports gets challenged in the courts.

The State Forensic Lab Director has now strictly ordered all officials in the lab not to use the NABL logo in the forensic examination reports until further orders.

The State Forensic Science Laboratory at Thiruvananthapuram under the Home Ministry became the first institution to get NABL accreditation in the state on October 19, 2020. NABL is the agency that gives recognition to labs after conducting inspections to identify whether the labs conform to international standards and use modern technology to conduct tests.

The NABL accreditation given to the State Forensic Lab expired on 2022 October 18. The NABL authorities had given a letter to the State Forensic Lab (SFL) Director asking him to urgently set up basic infrastructure facilities, including separate men’s and women’s toilets on all four floors of the SFL headquarters building. Though an extra month was given to SFL, it failed to adhere to this direction. Following this, the SFL lost its accreditation last October.

SFL Director K Pradeep Saji told ‘Manorama’ that the proceedings for renewing the accreditation are underway.

Inspections held by interns

Currently, interns carry out the inspections at certain divisions of the Forensic Science Laboratory, claimed sources. While the internship period is for three months, the trainees who continue to be deployed in the same division for nearly one-and-a-half years are conducting the inspections, sources said.

There are complaints that certain officials are entrusting the internships with the complex procedure of conducting inspections, despite the NABL strictly prohibiting the entry of outsiders into the lab.

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