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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

2                                                    MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

ample opportunities to examine cases of injury and poisoning, and to conduct
and witness medico-legal post-mortem examinations.

To obviate this difficulty it is necessary to give first a brief account of the
procedure adopted in a legal inquiry and of the criminal courts of India,
before the subject proper is treated.

LEGAL PROCEDURE AT AN INQUEST                     ^

Coroner's Inquest. In the Presidency towns of Calcutta and Bombay*"
the Coroner with the help of a jury^ holds inquests oriuquiries in cases of
sudden, unnatural or suspicious deaths, or in cases of 'cTeatris occurring in a
jail within the jurisdiction of his court. The Coroner is authorized ^o order
a post-mortem examination of a body to be made by any qualified medical
practitioner, usually the Police Surgeon, whomHhe summons to his, court to
give evidence at the inquest. At such an inquest or inquiry he5 summons
witnesses, takes their evidence on oath, receives evidence on behalf of the
accused and then with the help of the jury finds a verdict as to the cause
of death. If he finds a verdict of foul play against the accused person, he
^issues his warrant for the apprehension of such accused person and sends
him forthwith to the Magistrate empowered to commit him for trial. Where
there is enough evidence of foul play, but the perpetrator of the crime is not
identified, the Coroner's jury returns an open verdict ^tgiiM|^some person
or persons unknown, and the matter is held in abeyance, untilfurmef inquiry
throws more light on the perpetration of the crime.

^Police Inquest  In mofussil towns, an officer1 usually of the rank of a
Sub-Inspector of Police in charge of a police-station, on receiving information
of the accidental or unnatural death of any person, informs immediately the
nearest Magistrate of the same, and proceeds to the place where the body
of the deceased person is lying and there, in the presence of two or more
respectable inhabitants of the neighbourhood, makes an investigation and
draws up a report of the apparent cause of death as judged from the appear-
ance and surroundings of the body, describing such wounds, fractures,
bruises and other marks of injuries as may be found on the body, and statmg
in what manner or by what weapon or instrument (if any) such marks
appear to have been inflicted. The report is then signed by the investigating
police-officer and by the persons present at the inquest. In a case of suspected
foul play or doubt regarding the cause of death, the police-officer forwards
Hie dead body for post-mortem examination to *the Civil Surgeon ~ of the
district or other qualified medical man authorized to hold such Examination,
furnishing him with the descriptive roll and as full particulars as possible
to enable him to find out the probable cause of death, if the state of the
weather and the distance admit of its being so forwarded without risk of
such putrefaction on the road as would render such examination useless.
In order to shirk responsibility the investigating officer is apt to send all dead
bodies irrespective of the cause and manner of death to the Civil Surgeon
for post-mortem examination. The Civil Surgeon, immediately after holding
postmortem examination, has to give a statement as to the cause of death
to the constable accompanying the dead body for communication to the
investigating officer, and to send the full report later to the Superintendent
of Police, who forwards it to the Sub-Divisional Officer or Magistrate
emeemed.

In caps of rape and other cognizable offences the individual is sent by
fte Sub-Inspector of Police to the Civil Surgeon for medical^ex^ninatiorl

HI, sec. 17^ ?r- RC-   ^ fr* Residencies of Madrasd Bombay

1d6 by ^?T hea1 of K1^6- ** ^ United *                        l

Supe^ndent of