‘Police should directly approach hospitals for autopsy’

New Delhi, Aug 21 :

The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the city government and police to issue, within two months, a notification to enable the investigation officer of a case to directly approach the hospital concerned for having the post-mortem conducted, without being required to go through existing channels.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw said the IO or SHO should be empowered to — without going through the assistant/deputy commissioner of police, police headquarters and the home affairs department — directly approach the hospital or medical college for having the post-mortem conducted so that there are no delays.
The bench took note of the submissions of advocate Avadh Kaushik who filed a PIL on delay in conducting post-mortem due to long procedure prescribed.

At present, after inquest proceedings are completed by the metropolitan magistrate concerned and on obtaining his directions, the IO or SHO is required to move a formal application for constitution of a board of doctors to conduct the post-mortem to the ACP concerned, who forwards that application to the DCP, and the latter to the police headquarters from where it is sent to the home department, which is the competent authority to set up the board.

To obviate the delays in constitution of the board on a case to case basis, the bench directed the hospitals concerned to issue appropriate orders for having a “continuing panel of doctors” for conducting the post-mortem.

“Hospitals to issue appropriate orders for having a continuing panel of doctors for conducting the post-mortem and any one/two/three doctors from which panel may constitute the board, as the case may require. The concerned hospitals shall be entitled to, in their discretion lay down the appropriate procedure/step, therefore, without again causing delay,” said the court.

“We dispose of these petitions with the hope that the authorities concerned shall act on our directions in utmost sincerity and ensure that the doors of the court are not knocked again for having a post-mortem conducted and/or raising a grievance of the delay in the same,” the bench said asking the government to submit a compliance report.

The court’s directions came on PIL filed by Kaushik, whose client died in judicial custody and on account of Muharram holidays in government offices and hospitals, the post-mortem examination could not be conducted for four days.

Gaurav, 23, lodged in the city’s Rohini Jail in a murder case, died Nov 15 after he was admitted to the Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital in a critical condition. The plea said that the post-mortem examination was not conducted because Muharram was followed by Sunday.

Acting on the issue, the Delhi government had come up with a notification saying the post-mortem examinations and medico-legal tests of prisoners who died in judicial custody will be conducted at 13 demarcated government hospitals on Sundays and holidays too.


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