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Law Commission to study autopsy related laws

New Delhi: The Prime Minister’s Office has asked the Law Commission to study the laws related to post-mortem (PM) examination or autopsy in the country and give a comprehensive report covering all aspects of criminal laws so that necessary amendments can be made in the various laws viz the Code of Criminal Procedure, the Indian Evidence Act etc related to PM examination.

The move follows a detailed 82-page study report submitted in this regard in December 2015 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh by Dr Indrajit Khandekar, professor and in-charge, clinical forensic medicine unit (CFMU) and department of forensic medicine, Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS), Sevagram. Wardha.

According to Dr Khandekar, “Since 1898, we have been following the provision of 174 Criminal Procedure Code given by the British Government which is now outdated and even not followed correctly.”

“Even after 117 years, there was not a single amendment in the law that would help to check the existing pitiable quality of medico-legal death investigation by police and the horrendous quality of post-mortem examination in the country,” said Dr Khandekar in a statement.

“Not amending the 117-year-old law has led to forcing untrained MBBS doctors to do post-mortems; unscientific, improper death investigation and incomplete PM reports, which is one of the reasons for low conviction rate; unnecessary post-mortems; relatives facing tremendous difficulties for getting copy of PM report; collection of various organs and even foetuses of pregnant lady for keeping in museum without written consent of the relatives,” according to Dr Khandekar.

He further said, “Like other countries our law should have the following provisions: autopsy, preferably to be done by forensic medicine expert; police to decide whether to order dissection and extent of it in consultation with doctor; strict measures to avoid unnecessary dissection of dead bodies; and a provision to provide copy of PM report to relatives by doctor free of cost.”

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