182 MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE for the presence of sugar, nor had the oesophagus and suprarenal glands been examined. These criticisms led the Home Secretary to reopen the case. A free pardon was granted to Alice Rhodes and the sentence passed on the three Stauntons was commuted to penal servitude for life. Dr. Halliday Sutherland3 reviewed this case before the Medico-Legal Society, London, at their meeting held on the 15th February 1921, and proved from the medical evidence given during the trial that death was due to starvation. 2. Whether the Starvation was Suicidal, Homicidal or Accidental.— Suicidal starvation is rare, though it may be seen among lunatics or prisoners, who may go on " hunger strike ". In this connection it must be remembered that the forcible feeding of prisoners, when they refuse to take any food on account of passive resistance, is not an assault but is quite lawful. In India, sometimes, young hysterical women imagine that they are possessed by deities, and say that they can live without food for a prolonged period, or they do so to practise deception on their friends and relatives. When people watch them, the fraud is exposed, but in some cases they actually abstain from food, and prefer to die rather than that their impos- ture should be detected. Persons watching them must be very careful, as they are criminally responsible for abetting suicide, if death results from this .enforced fasting. Bai Prembai, a Hindu woman of Bombay, who professed to live without food and to pass neither -urine nor fseces, undertook to allow a watch to be kept upon her move- ments. A committee of medical men and one lady doctor undertook this duty and selected eight nurses to conduct the watch. After four days' watching a packet of food was found to have been concealed upon her person and she was exposed.—Barry, Legal Med., Vol. H, p. 244. Homicidal starvation is met with in the case of old, helpless, or feeble- minded persons and children or infants. Illegitimate infants are sometimes done to death by depriving them of proper food, and at the same time expos- ing them to cold. Rarely, mothers-in-law in the lower classes in India starve their little daughters-in-law to death. Two such cases came to my notice at Agra. Both were sisters and were married in the same house. They were seven and eleven years old respectively, were burnt at several places and were not given sufficient food, until they died from inanition. The Bombay Children Act, 1948 (Bombay Act No. LXXI of 1948), provides that whoever having the actual charge of, or control over, a child wilfully assaults, ill- treats, neglects, abandons, or exposes him or causes or procures him to be assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed or negligently fails to provide adequate food, clothes or medical aid or lodging for a child in a manner likely to cause such child unnecessary mental and physical suffering shall, on conviction, be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term not exceeding two years or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees or with both. The infliction of reasonable punishments on a child for proper reason, presumably by way of a corrective shall not be deemed to be an offence (vide section 48). For purposes of this Act a " child " means a boy or girl who has not attained the age of sixteen years. Accidental starvation may occur during famines, among shipwrecked seamen and persons entombed in mines, pits by falls of rock or wreckage by a bomb attack. It may also occur from obstruction to the passage of food into the stomach from disease, such as ankylosis of the jaws, stricture or cancer of the oesophagus or stomach, etc. COLD Children and old persons having little reserve of thermotaxic power are very susceptible to the bad effects of cold. Individuals, whose vitality 3. The Transactions of the Medico-Legal Society, Vol. XV, p. 54.