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The Bombay High Court today asked Maharashtra government to consider setting up mini-forensic laboratories in every district and tehsil to reduce the pendency of cases requiring analysis, and ensure speedy probe of crimes.

The division bench of justices Abhay Oka and Girish Kulkarni directed the state to take a policy decision within three months on the issue.

The court also directed the government to fill up 125 vacant posts in forensic laboratories during the same period.

The directions were given on a suo-moto (on its own) PIL based on a newspaper report which stated that 21 out of the 35 districts in the state do not have forensic facilities.

The bench was informed by the amicus curiae forensic labsthat due to shortage of laboratories, the police have to carry the samples to regional labs by state transport buses. This causes delay.

The existing laboratories do not have proper infrastructure, Kotwal said, adding that around 11,000 cases are pending in the regional labs at Mumbai, Nagpur, Pune, Aurangabad and Amravati.

The state government said a proposal to start two more labs at Kolhapur and Nanded was pending. Further, there are 588 post mortem centres in the state and an additional 29 are proposed to be started.

The bench observed, “It is alarming that so many cases are pending, this has a direct impact on the criminal justice system.”

The court directed the government to take decision at the earliest and clarified that if code of conduct for the assembly elections is declared, it would not come in the way of the government from taking such a step.

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