News & Events

Faculty Seminar | The inscription of DNA as a technology of truth in India


Conference Hall, Ground Floor, Training Centre, NLSIU


Wednesday, March 13, 2024, 4:00 pm

In this week’s faculty seminar, Manpreet Singh Dhillon, will present his paper titled “The inscription of DNA as a technology of truth in India”, on Wednesday, 13th March, 2024. Dr Sushmita Pati will be the discussant.


This paper demonstrates how DNA evidence came to acquire an exceptional legal status as incontrovertible ‘scientific’ evidence in India. The paper begins by showing how forensic DNA came to occupy a privileged epistemic authority in Indian courtrooms by focusing on a key geneticist and his molecular biology lab which served as the epicentre of producing DNA reports in the first decade of DNA typing technology. Next, it focuses on a contentious case in which DNA evidence was first contested, albeit unsuccessfully in court. Examining this controversial case, this paper argues that there has been a discursive production of certainty around DNA evidence in the Indian legal system with the judges acting as the arbiters of truth. By explaining the emergence, acceptance, and normalization of DNA evidence in Indian courtrooms, the paper explicates how the law produced a ‘regime of truth’ around forensic DNA in the criminal justice system.  The paper concludes that the inscription of DNA evidence as a technology of truth in India represents the continuance of colonial dependence on forensic evidence to deliver rational and objective justice by the post-colonial Indian legal system.