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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

MEDICAL EVIDENCE                                                      13

his opinion on the facts observed by himself. He should not be biased by
the statements of others. In drawing conclusions in medico-legal reports he
should not depend upon information derived from any other source. How-
ever, if his opinion tallies with the information supplied, he should say so
in his report.

An injury case should be kept under observation, and the fact notified
to the police, if it is not possible to form an opinion immediately after examin-
ing it; a hasty opinion should not be formed, even if pressed by the police.

Articles of clothing, weapons, etc. sent for medical examination should
be described with full particulars to facilitate their identification later in
court. They should be labelled with the differentiating numbers or marks,
and returned to the Superintendent of Police or Magistrate in a sealed cover,
one's private seal being used; the signature of the person, usually the police
constable, receiving them should be taken. Those articles, which are likely
to be sent to the Chemical Examiner, should be kept under lock and key
in the custody of the medical officer.

(c) Dying Declarations.A dying declaration, is  a, statement^ ^verbal
or written^-madeiy a J>erson since .deceased, relating to the cause of his
of her death or any of the circumstances of the transaction resulting in
death. The medical officer in charge of a hospital or dispensary should at
once send for a stipendiary or honorary Magistrate to record the dying
declaration of a person, who is likely to die from the effects of criminal
violence or other criminal cause.6 If, in his opinion, there is no time to call a
Magistrate, the medical officer should himself record the declaration. It should
be recorded in full^ detail in the vernacular in the identical words of the
declarant, in the form 61 question and answer, and in the presence of respect-
able witnesses. The accused or his pleader, if present, should be allowed
to put questions to the declarant. The declaration should then be read
over to the declarant, who should affix his or her signature or mark to it.
When concluded, it should be signed by the medical officer recording it,
who should also obtain signatures of respectable witnesses. If the declarant
becomes unconscious, while the statement is being recorded, the medical
officer writing it must record as much information as he has obtained and
sign it, and obtain the signatures of the witnesses. If the statement is
written by the declarant himself, it should be signed and attested by respect-
able witnesses. The declaration should then be forwarded in a sealed
envelope direct to the District Magistrate or Sub-Divisional Officer concerned.
If it can be avoided, the police officer who is engaged in the investigation of
the case~ should not be allowed to be present, when the dying declaration is
recorded. NcT undue influence should also be brought to bear on the
declarant who should be permitted to give his statement without any outside
prompting or assistance.

It should be noted that the Calcutta High Court has ruled that in a case
where a dying person is unable to speak and can onlj? make signs in answer to
questions put to him, the questions and signs put together might properly be
regarded as a " verbal statement" made by a person as to the cause of his
death within the meaning of section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, and are,
therefore, admissible in evidence,7 But statements of witnesses as to what
interpretations they put upon the signs made by the declarant are
admissible.8

6.   For full details of the procedure vide Manual of Government Orders
I, Dept. VI, Chapter XXVI.                                                                           ,     *

7.   Criminal Reference No. 49 of 1921; 25 Criminal Law Journal, May.;

8.   38   Criminal  Law  Jour.,  19S7,  p.  281   (Chandra   Sekera  fr>s    'L'
Council Appeal from Supreme Court of the Island of Ceylon, Nov. 12,