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Non-Preservation of Viscera by the Doctor can be fatal for Prosecution: SC

by Sugam ShineMarch 14, 2018

The Supreme Court acquitted a mother in law accused of killing her son-in law by reversing the decisions of the trial court and High Court. This decision was given by the bench of Hon’ble Justice NV Ramana and Justice S Abdul Nazeer. The matter was related to murder of deceased Brij Bhusan Tiwari where it was alleged that he was killed by his wife and his mother in law. The wife of deceased had died while the matter was still pending before the trial court. The trial court found the mother in law guilty of murder and sentenced her to life imprisonment. On an appeal before the High Court the conviction was upheld by the court.

On an appeal before the apex against the conviction it was contended that the death was caused due to poisoning and the deceased had committed suicide. The councils from the side of mother in law contended that the fact that the deceased had committed suicide was sidelined from the very starting of investigation and the therefore the viscera for investigation was not preserved by the doctors. Viscera is a very important and should be preserved for post mortem.

The bench of Supreme Court judges while giving their judgment said “that when there existed a primary complaint lodged by the wife of the deceased regarding the fact that the accused had committed suicide by consuming poison it was the duty of the doctors to preserve viscera for chemical examinations but the doctors failed to do so. The prosecution thus failed to take adequate steps to preserve viscera. Also the fact that the independent panch witnesses together with the Investigation Officer recorder their view where they had said it was a case of poisoning also supported the contention of appellants before the Supreme Court. The court in its judgment also said that a mere statement by the doctor that the viscera was not preserved because there was no presence of poison would not be sufficient to prove that there was no suicide committed. The Supreme Court in its earlier judgments had directed that in cases where poisoning is suspected, immediately after the post-mortem, the viscera should be sent to the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory). The prosecuting agencies should ensure that the viscera is, in fact, sent to the FSL for examination and the FSL should ensure that the viscera is examined immediately and report is sent to the investigating agencies/courts post haste.”

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Sugam Shine
Student from School of Law, Galgotia’s University, Greater Noida.

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