Care, Handling and Preservation of Questioned Document (Chapter 3)

The questioned document should be collected and handled properly. This helps in maintaining the integrity of evidence. And should always handle with keep in mind that any alteration, folding, sign, print, and damage caused during collection or handling of the evidence will compromise the results of different tests and examinations, and, any opinion of the expert/ examiner about the QD will be affected too. Evidence should be collected with a gloved hand to keep it safe from any contamination.

The questioned document examiner should be told about the other forensic tests and examinations. The document examination is first done by the document examiner before the other disciplines, and, any chemical or destructive method should be performed after a preliminary examination and non-destructive methods.

Following points should keep in mind while collecting any questioned document:

√ The document should be handled by an expert.

√ When a document is received, it should be examined top and bottom front and back before opening to evaluate the presence of any extraneous marking.

√ A document should never be handled by bare hand, a glove should be worn.

√ If the document is found in unfolded condition, new folds should never be introduced.

√ The document should be marked and a unique identification number should be allotted as soon as possible as it is received by the document expert.

√ Document should store in a Static-free bag or cellophane bag or envelope. Document should be stored in the same condition they have been obtained.

√ It should never be handled unnecessarily.

√ Document should be protected from strong light, chemicals, moisture, and rodents.

√ A detailed descriptive note about the document should be made every time which also should show the date, place, and from whom it was obtained.

√ An enlarged and detailed photography of the document should be done to maintain the chain of custody.

√ A document should never be examined with a pen, pencil, or any other sharp instrument to avoid any mark/damage to the document.

√ A document should never be treated by any chemical unless no other options are available. If required, a small piece/scrape from a document should be taken after its photography is done.

                     Whenever a document is received at a document examination laboratory/forensic science laboratory. The first thing to be done is its marking, the following method is usually followed by the document expert for marking the questioned, Admitted and specimen send to them for examination.

Questioned – The Questioned or disputed document is marked by Red color Pencil and denoted by Q1 to Qn, depending upon the number of question exhibits. After marking a stamp it should place in an appropriate space without disturbing it. Questioned matter and case number, date of receiving should be mentioned on it. Further will be prepared by the Assistant Central Investigating officers and sent to document expert for examination

Marking of Questioned Document –

1. Questioned: Authenticity – Dispute (Red) (Q1-Qn)

2. Admitted: Before date of dispute (Green/Black) (A1-An)

3. Specimen: For the purpose of comparison (Blue) (S1-Sn)

Specimen – it is the document, handwriting, Signature, etc. which is obtained for the purpose of comparison from the suspects.

Whether Questioned exhibit Red enclosed Q1to Qs has any similarity with the provided Blue enclosed S1 to S5.

The specimens are generally marked or enclosed by blue color pencil and identified as S1…..S2…..S3……Sn.

Admitted – The document, handwriting, signature, etc. written prior to date of dispute in ordinary courses of nature which can be certified by a person who doesn’t have any wrongful gain by certifying such document.

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