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Report No. 152

3. Medical Examination of Victims/Suspects

Issue No. 3

Should the law provide that on arrest of a person it should be mandatory for a police officer or a public servant holding the custody of the person to get him medically examined, before commencing the interrogation?

Views of Academicians

The academicians have supported the proposal of the Law Commission and responded in affirmative but they have raised the doubt whether such medical officer should be available to persons arrested in remote village areas or tribal areas. Despite this fact they have urged to amend the provisions in Cr. P.C. and make it mandatory on police to get the person medically examined before he is taken into custody.

Views of the Judges

Out of the five, three have supported the proposal of the Law Commission, one has disagreed and one has not given the reply directly. Those who are in favour of providing the provision for compulsory medical examination of person being arrested have felt that the amendment will be useful and serve as a safeguard against public atrocities.

Views of Advocates

Out of six advocates two have supported the proposal and recommended for amendment to provide medical examination of arrested person; one of them has deviated from direct reply and three have opposed the proposal, as they do not feel it necessary. One advocate has advised that in addition to medical examination which is necessary as and when the arrested person is produced before a Magistrate, the Magistrate should satisfy himself that the arrest took place on the date and time as recorded by the police and not earlier and that arrested person has not been subjected to any torture before his production in the Court.

A Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court has stated that the person in custody has got the right of medical examination under section 54, Cr. P.C. but the police officer while arresting such person should also inform him that he has got the right to be examined by a medical officer.

Views of Police Officers

Out of three, one of them feels that there is no need to make a provision, the other says that law may not be amended but administrative instructions may be issued, that if at the time of arrest a person is found infirm, injured, etc., he should be medically examined. The third is in favour of the proposal of the Law Commission provided that the medical officer is available near the police station.

Views of State Governments

All the responses received from nine State Governments/Union Territories do not favour the proposal. The Government of Andhra Pradesh States that it may not be practicable to follow this in all cases. This may be followed in cases where the arrested person or his counsel or relatives request for a medical examination, the police should be duty bound to allow the same.

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