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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

EROWHING                                                        177

ing is likely to obliterate the signs to a great extent. In doubtful cases,
where a definite opinion cannot be given, it is safer to preserve the viscera
for -chemical analysis.

2.   Whether the Drowning was Suicidal, Homicidal or Accidental*—In.

India, drowning occupies the first position of all the modes of committing
suicide. In twoS^undred and thirty-one cases investigated by me during a
period extending over eight years, suicide was effected in the following
modes: Drowning, 90 (34 males, 56 females); Opium, 73 (55 males, 18
females); Irritant poison, especially arsenic, 30 (17 males, 13 females);
Hanging, 28 (13 males, 15 females); Cut throat, 6 (5 males, 1 female);
Gunshot, 2 (1 male, 1 female); Burns, 2 females.

Females, even on the least provocation, commit suicide by jumping
into a well or a tank in the neighbourhood of their house or village. Some-
times a woman falls into water with her child. If she survives and the child
dies, she is tried under section 309, I.P.C., for the offence of having com-
mitted an attempt at suicide, and may be tried under section 3025 LP.C., for
having committed the murder of her child, or under section 304-A, I.P.C.,
for causing the death of her child by negligence.

" A tcase occurred at Agra where a woman jumped into a well with a view to com-
mitting* suicide together with her daughter, 3 years old. She was saved, but her daughter
died. During the trial the woman put up a very ingenious plea of defence that while
playing in the vicinity of the well her daughter climbed up its parapet and fell down
Accidentally; to rescue her she at once plunged into the well, but could not save her
daughter. The plea was, however, not accepted by the court, as the parapet was too
high for the child to climb, and the woman was sentenced to death under section
302, LP.C.

A woman, who was harassed and ill-treated by her husband, in a fit of disappoint-
ment and annoyance jumped into a well with the object of drowning herself. At the
time when she jumped into the well she had her child tied at her back but she was
not conscious of the fact and the result was that although she escaped the child died.
It was held that the woman was guilty of attempting to commit suicide, that it could
not be said that her act came within the purview of clause 4 of section 500 of the Indian
Penal Code, and that, therefore, she was guilty of a negligent omission, that is, the
omission to put the child down before jumping into the well and that the death of the
child having been caused by such negligence, the accused was guilty of the offence
under section 304-A, IJ?.C.16

cies, suicides tie their hands or feet together or attach heavy
weignts to their person, before jumping into water. Dr. Godfrey Carter17
records the case of a man who bound himself with a rope in a way that
completely inhibited the movement of his arms and legs and then threw
himself in a canal a few miles from his house. In^nciL cases it would be
necessary to determine whether the knots or fo!3sof the rope or ligature
were such as could have been made by the suicide himself f^fe>r a murderer
often ties the hands and feet of his victim before he throws mm into water.

Injuries are generally absent, but they may be found on the body
coining accidentally into violent contact with a hard object during a fall in
water. Rarely, suicides inflict severe wounds upon themselves either by a
cutting weapon or by a firearm before they take the fatal jump into water.

jjgmicidal drowning is rare except in the case of infants and children.
Ij^is-a common practice to rob children of their ornaments and then to
mrow them into a well or a tank. It is not possible to throw an acluii of
average strength and in full possession of his senses into water so as fe
drown him unless he is attacked unawares or he has been previously
fied by some narcotic drug. In the case1S of Rex v. George Joseph

16.   K. E. v. Snpad^ Bombay Higji Court, Cr. Appeal 2SFo. 14 of 1925;
tour*, Aug. 1925, p. 1,016.

17.   Brit Med. Jour^ Aug. 13, 1932, p. 321,

18.   Brit. Med. Jour., Aug. 13, 1032, p. 322L              t,
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