In my Last Article titled ‘Statutory Audit may be replaced by Forensic Audit’ I have discussed about how companies are finding Forensic Audit more useful than statutory audit and need to adapt to the new tools and techniques. In this article I am discussing the meaning of Term Forensic / Forensic Science and its Origin.
What is forensics?
The word forensic comes from the Latin word forensis: public, to the forum or public discussion; argumentative, rhetorical, belonging to debate or discussion.
A relevant, modern definition of forensic is: relating to, used in, or suitable to a court of law. Any science used for the purposes of the law is a forensic science.
Forensic science is the scientific method of gathering and examining information about the past which is then used in a court of law.
The forensic sciences are used around the world to resolve civil disputes, to justly enforce criminal laws and government regulations, and to protect public health. Forensic scientists may be involved anytime an objective, scientific analysis is needed to find the truth and to seek justice in a legal proceeding.
Though generally forensic science became identified with law enforcement and the prosecution of criminal cases — an image enhanced by books, television, and movies. However, this is misleading because forensic science is objective, unbiased, and applies equally to either side of any criminal, civil, or other legal matter.
This origin is the source of the two modern usages of the word forensic – as a form of legal evidence and as a category of public presentation. In modern use, the term forensics in the place of forensic science can be considered correct, as the term forensic is effectively a synonym for legal or related to courts. However, the term is now so closely associated with the scientific field that many dictionaries include the meaning that equates the word forensics with forensic science.
Sir William Herschel was one of the first to advocate the use of fingerprinting in the identification of criminal suspects. While working for the Indian Civil Service, he began to use thumbprints on documents as a security measure to prevent the then-rampant repudiation of signatures in 1858.
In 1877 at Hooghly (near Calcutta), he instituted the use of fingerprints on contracts and deeds, and he registered government pensioners’ fingerprints to prevent the collection of money by relatives after a pensioner’s death.
(Author CA Piyush Baranwal, DISA, Certified FAFP(ICAI),Certified in International Taxation(ICAI) can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 9818133880,Articles can be accessed and read at forensicpundit.com)