Fingerprint identification, also known as dactyloscopy, or hand print identification, is the process of comparing two instances of friction ridge skin impressions (Minutiae), from human fingers or toes, or even the palm of the hand or sole of the foot, to determine whether these impressions could have come from the same individual’s same finger.
A fingerprint is an impression of the friction ridges of all or any part of the finger. A friction ridge is a raised portion of the epidermis on the palmar (palm and fingers) or plantar (sole and toes) skin, consisting of one or more connected ridge units of friction ridge skin.
Fingerprints have evolved into most important, easily available, classifiable and most dependable source of fixing identity of a person. Due to its fundamental principles of permanency and uniqueness, the fingerprints were adopted and lately it has become the major tool in forensic science for fixing identity.
Dr. Henry Faulds was the first person to propound that the fingerprints developed from scene of crime can lead to the person who owns them. He can be credited for following:-
1. Using fingerprints for forensic purposes.
2. That every finger impression is unique.
3. For taking finger impression, printer’s black ink is the best medium.
Sir Henry Faulds
Sir E R Henry along with two Indian Police Officers Hem Chandra Bose and Azizul Haque is credited with classification of fingerprints. Popular as Henry System of Classification is in use till date. Sir Henry was the first person to use finger print as the major tool of identification by establishing the first Finger Print Bureau of the world on 12th June, 1897. It’s now over 120 years of official use of fingerprints.
. Sir E R Henry
Sir Fransis Galton classified fingerprint patterns into three:-
1. ARCH (PLAIN and TENTED)
2. LOOP (ULNAR and RADIAL)
Sir Francis Galton
Sir E R Henry and his team classified fingerprint patterns into nine classes for its classification purposes as:-
1. PLAIN ARCH
2. TENTED ARCH
3. ULNAR LOOP
4. RADIAL LOOP
6. CENTRAL POCKET LOOP
7. LATERAL POCKET LOOP
8. TWINNED LOOP
Salil Kumar Chatterjee, a prominent expert from Calcutta(now Kolkata), India, through his book “FINGER, PALM AND SOLE PRINTS” and by publishing in “FINGERPRINT AND IDENTIFICATION” , September, 1962 issue gave us an approximate number of ridge details( also known as ridge characteristics or Galton details or minutiae) as 35 in plain impression and 50 in rolled impression of our fingers.
The courts, all over the world, through their judgements have pronounced that the fingerprint science has attained the level of exactitude. The fingerprint evidence is admissible in courts. The fingerprint experts are using three levels of details to come to any opinion regarding matching of two sets of fingerprints, one obtained from scene of crime and the other specimen impression of any criminal(suspect or accused) or inmates.
FIRST LEVEL OF DETAILS:- Ridge flow, patter type, ridge count, focal points(core or delta) and orientation.
SECOND LEVEL OF DETAILS:- Ridge details( also known as Galton details ir Ridge characteristics or Minutiae). The nature of the ridge details and their relative position are the base for fixing identity or otherwise.
THIRD LEVEL OF DETAILS:- Poroscopy and Edgeoscopy.
The individualization is not possible purely on the basis of first level of details. After second and third level of details, individualization can be established without any doubts.