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Sunday, November 16, 2014

Private college hospitals can do autopsies, says court Chennai: The Madras high court has suggested to the state government to explore the feasibility of permitting private medical college hospitals to perform autopsies on unidentified bodies, which will relieve the congestion in mortuaries in government hospitals. A division bench comprising Justices S. Rajeswaran and P. N. Prakash gave the suggestion while issuing a set of directions to authorities relating to man missing cases and unidentified bodies. Citing an order of the Karnataka government relating to conducting of post-mortem, the bench said, “Due to paucity of post-mortem doctors in government hospitals, post-mortem on unidentified bodies is not done immediately and preference is given only to murder cases, accident cases and in cases where the body is identified. In our opinion, a solution to this problem can be found, if private medical college hospitals in the state are given permission to conduct post-mortem as done in the state of Karnataka”. In Tamil Nadu, there were 19 government medical colleges and 26 private medical colleges, of which 11 were deemed universities. At present, students studying in these private medical colleges were sent to the government medical college hospitals for getting training in autopsy, the bench pointed out. To begin with, on a trial basis, if the government grants permission to these private medical colleges to perform autopsies on unidentified bodies, it will relieve the congestion in the mortuaries in the government hospitals. The orthodox may raise their eyebrows and ask anxiously “Will not these private doctors become amenable to influence and issue bogus post-mortem certificates?” But, the situation seems no better in the government hospitals either. “If videography of all post-mortems, whether done in government hospital or private hospital is made compulsory, such misadventures can be curtailed”, the bench added. The bench said an apprehension was voiced that the state will not be able to take any action against a doctor of a private medical college, if the post-mortem certificate given by him was found to be bogus. It cited various sections under the Indian Penal Code dealing with furnishing false information and causing disappearance of evidence, among others that are to prosecute the doctor. The legislature can also bring in an amendment to the definition of “public servant” found in section 21 of IPC and in section 2 © of the Prevention of Corruption Act, by including “The doctors who perform autopsy at the request of a police officer” so that the doctor can be prosecuted even under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the bench added.

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