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Report No. 152

3.17. Section 53: Medical Examination of the accused.-

In certain circumstances, medical examination of the accused may become necessary and this is taken care of by section 53 of the Code. As the law stands at present, it is lawful for a registered medical practitioner at the request of a police officer not below the rank of sub-inspector, to make a medical examination of the accused, if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the examination of the person will afford evidence as to the commission of an offence.

Such force as is reasonably necessary for this purpose can be used. In the case of women, section 53(2) provides that the examination "shall be made only by, or under the supervision of, a female registered medical practitioner", a provision obviously intended to guard against sexual malpractices at the time of such examination.

It appears that in the recent Bill to amend the Code, Bill No. 35 of 1994 of the Rajya Sabha (9th May, 1994), it is sought to be clarified that "examination" shall include the examination of blood, swabs in case of sexual assault, sputum and sweat, hair sample and finger nail clippings and such other tests which the registered medical practitioner thinks necessary in a particular case. The Explanation seems to have been considered desirable in view of the fact that the subject of pathological tests has been the point at issue before certain High Courts (although the Notes on Clauses to the Bill do not mention this aspect).

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