The bondage of law and medicine is ancient one ,as old as Egyptian civilization,The code of Hammurabi [Babylon-2200 BC]is oldest code on medical -legal cases.The Forensic medicine or legal medicine &Toxicology and medical jurisprudence gained lot of importance in the modern world due to newer technology like Finger Printing and DNA.
It is prudent for young police officers ,prosecuting officers,defence counsels and general public to gain fundamental knowledge of medical jurisprudence , forensic medicine and toxicology.The forensic medicine deals with the medical aspects of law viz .death,injuries,sexual offences ,infant deaths, poisoning ,accidents, homicide.The Medical jurisprudence deals with the legal aspects of practice of medicine viz.medical negligence ,rights &duties of doctor ,professional misconduct.Both Forensic medicine and Medical Jurisprudence are very important subjects in the criminal Justice system.
An inquest is an detailed inquiry or investigation into the cause of death or sudden death,it is conducted , in case of suspicious or sudden death,murder ,mass killings ,killing by animals and accidents.
- The Police inquest.
- The Coroner inquest.
- The magistrate inquest.
The term Autopsy is a Greek term autopsia, which mean "to see for oneself"In 44 BC, Julius Caesar was the subject of an official autopsy after, he was murdered by rival senators.
The Autopsy on corpses will be performed for medical examination of human and animal body parts by the medical students and it is also done to ascertain the cause of the death in medico -legal cases or sudden or suspicious death.
The reports consists of facts drawn from detailed observation of the body and the opinion formed basing on said facts,the same will be attached to the case file to be produced in the court during criminal trial,this will become evidence,once doctor attends the court and testify the facts under the oath.
The medical report should be two parts consists of examination of body and the opinion ,The Examination of body consists both external and internal. No doctor should sign the medical report with out examining the body & observing due formalities ,including visiting scene of crime to form suitable expert opinion on the cause of the death.If doctor does not visit the scene of crime ,he may not know all details of the crime.
1.Name of deceased or victim and as entered in the Jail or Police record
2.Address,Age (Approx) yrs; Sex : Male/Female
3.Body brought by (Name and rank of Police officials)
of Police Station
4.Identified by Names & addresses of relatives/persons acquainted
(l)Height__ cms.(2)Weight__ Kgs.
(3)Physique -(a)lean/medium/obese-(b)Well built/average built/poor built/emaciated
(4)Identification features (if body is unidentified), Finger prints be taken on seperate sheet and attached by the doctor.
(5)Description of clothes worn-important features:
(6)Post-mortem Changes:(a)As seen during inquest,Whether rigor mortis present Temperature (Rectal) others, (b) As seen at Autopsy.
(7)(a)External general appearance-(b)State of eyes(c) Natural orifices
- Scalp findings
- Skull(Describe fractures here & show them on body diagram enclosed)
- Meninges,meningeal spaces&Cerebral vessels(Hemorrhage&its locations,abnormal smell etc.be noted)
- Brain findings & Wt.(Wt._gms.)
- Orbital,nasal&aural cavities-findings
- Mouth, Tongue & Pharynx
- Larynx & Vocal cords
- Condition of neck tissues
- Thyroid & other cartilage conditions
- Ribs and Chest wall
- Trachea & Bronchial Tree
- Pleural Cavities
- Pleural Cavities-R-L
- Lungs findings & Wt.- Rt.__ gms.&Lt._ gms.
- Pericardial Sac
- Heart findings & Wt__
- Large blood vessels
- Condition of abdominal wall
- Peritoneum & Peritoneal cavity
- Stomach(wall condition,contents&smell)(Weight__ gms.)
- Small intestines including appendix
- Large intestines & Mesentric vessels
- Liver including
- Gall bladder (wt _gms)
- Spleen (wt._gms.)
- Kidneys finding & Wt. - Rt._ gms & Lt._ gms.
- Bladder & urethra
- Pelvic cavity tissues
- Pelvic Bones
- Examination of Genital organs(Note the condition of the vagina, scrotum, presence of foreign body,presence of foetus,semen or any other fluid,and contusion,abrasion in and around genital organs)[helpful in determining the sexual assault]
5.EXAMINATION OF SPINAL COLUMN&SPINAL CORD(To be opened where indicated)
i)Probable time since death(keep all factors including observations at inquest)
ii)Cause &manner of death-The cause of death to the best of my knowledge and belief is :-
(a)Immediate cause -
(d)Manner of causation of injuries
(e)Whether injuries (individually or collectively) are sufficient to cause death in ordinary course of nature or not ?
SPECIMENS COLLECTED & HANDED OVER [Enclosures ]
a)Viscera(Stomach with contents,small intestine with contents, sample of liver,kidney(one half of each),spleen, sample of blood on gauze piece (dried),any other viscera, preservative used)
c)Photographs(Video cassettes in case of custody deaths, finger prints etc)
d)Foreign body(like bullet, ligature etc.)
e)Sample of preservative in cases of posioning &Sample of seal
h)Slides from vagina, semen or any other material.
No doctor can examine women without prior request form from I.O or magistrate and no women can be forced to undergo medical examination,her prior consent is required,if victim is under 12 yrs or unsound mind ,the consent of parents or guardians must be taken in writing.
The victim should be examined in the presence of female nurse or attendant.The I.O should also ensure that victim should be taken to hospital immediately[not take bath or change cloths prior to medical examination].
PM report in original,inquest papers,dead body,clothings and other articles (mention there) duly sealed (Nos.) handed over to police official No.of PS-whose signatures are herewith.Signature,Name of Medical Officer:(in block letters),Designation,Seal.
The medical report prepared by doctor should based on his own observation,the doctor should be able to defend the same in the court of law personally testifying ,he should not hesitate to give details of observation in the court and answer all questions diligently posed by the court and patiently face the cross examination of defence counsel by answering questions in an unbiased manner. He should confine himself to medical knowlegde,his role is furnishing the expert opinion of the crime.The presumptions,conjectures and assumptions are not expert evidence or proof.There should be no scope for vagueness or inaccuracy in preparing the medical report.
India follows the International Statistical classification of diseases,injuries, and causes of the death as per classification ,the reports are prepared in India.No doctor should sign death certificate without examination of body.
The medical reports play crucial role in courts cases,it is corroborative peice of evidence in determining the crime.It has become indispensable part of criminal justice administration.
- http://uppolice.up.nic.in/All%20Rules/Dr%20Training%20material%20for%20CD/Annex%202%20custodial%20rape%20death.pdf -NHRC guidelines in custodial deaths.
- UN model format of Post-Mortem /autopsy report
- Dr.K.S Narayana Reddy:The Essentials of Forensic Medicine and toxicology.
Disclaimer :This is only informative peice of article not reference material or expertise work.
Next : Importance of Medical reports in Paternity,Impotence ,Sterility&Sexual offences cases.