An official order will only come on 16 July, but the Allahabad High Court decided on a significant issue in the Aarushi-Hemraj murder trial on Thursday. The court rejected the Talwars' prayer to allow the narco-analysis reports of the three servants once suspected of the crime to be placed on record in the trial court in Ghaziabad. But reports regarding all the DNA testing done in the case will now have to be considered during trial, as will the results of sound test conducted in the Talwars' NOIDA flat, to ascertain whether it was possible for the dentist couple not to hear anything as their daughter was being murdered in the room adjoining theirs.
Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar had approached the Allahabad High Court after the Ghaziabad court rejected their prayer to have the documents brought into record. The Talwars had argued that the documents were vital to the defence and were important in the interest of a fair trial. Till Thursday's order, the CBI had fiercely resisted placing them on the table in the trial court.
Comprehensive reports on DNA fingerprinting were never given to the Talwars. These are important because some of the reports produced in this case have baffled even experts. For instance, the fact that human DNA is found on several samples, but the traces of blood on them have been reported as "not of human origin". Or the controversial conclusion that a set of slides purportedly containing a smear from Aarushi, could not have come from "the biological offspring" of the Talwars.
DNA fingerprinting involves the scientific interpretation of empirical data. When tested for DNA, our cells draw a unique landscape of peaks and valleys. A machine renders this in the form of a genotype plot, but this picture varies depending on what it is fed for factors like magnification.
DNA fingerprinting is also a science of exclusion. That is, it does not tell you X was certainly there, if X's DNA is found. It tells you instead, that the chance of X not being there is very, very low.
In the case of Aarushi's slides, independent experts contacted by the Talwars have said there was no confusion at all. The slides contained Aarushi's DNA: the reports were incompetently read. But the Talwars got the genotype plots of the slides fortuitously, but were denied all other similar reports from the dozens of samples collected from the crime scene.
An independent scientist or agency may well read the graphs differently than the CBI's forensic lab, and such findings could be game-changing. Not just for the trial, but for forensic science labs like the CBI's CFSL. They say they follow their "own guidelines" rather than those set by accreditation agencies. They may finally be held accountable.