Medical evidence is used by investigating agencies to prove the guilt of the accused. Also, the medical Evidence is used by the accused to put his defense to get rid of the case against him if there is an inconsistency to such an extent that oral evidence does not meet out the requirement to prove the guilt of the accused beyond the reasonable doubt. Even, through the Medical Evidence the accused can be identified, So, the medical evidence has a major role to play in the Criminal matter especially. The Medical Evidence is mainly corroborative in nature. When medical experts having scientific knowledge, skill and personal experience in the medical line gives proof on the basis of Medical Jurisprudence that is known as “Medical evidence”. On the one hand, “Medical Evidence” cannot outweigh the testimony of an independent/ disinterested witness”, but on the other hand, in case of conflict between the oral evidence and “Medical Evidence” then the Medical evidence is given preference. The nature of the “Medical Evidence” is corroborative, therefore the testimony of eyewitnesses cannot be disregarded merely on the ground of its inconsistency with medical evidence. In certain cases in case of inconsistency in medical and ocular evidence, the evidence of eyewitness may not be believed by the court.
When direct evidence is unsatisfactory and the evidence of gunshot injury prima facie appears to be of rifle injury, then the evidence of ballistic expert can cure inconsistency. In the case of Nachhattar Singh And Ors. vs The State Of Punjab on 9 December 1975 AIR 1976 SC 951. The evidence of the two Doctors who held the autopsy over the dead bodies of the three deceased was not thrown to any doubt. On the basis of that evidence the trial Court, as well as the High Court, was constrained to find that no injury was caused to any of the victims with a rifle.
Relevant Act and Statutes:
- Evidence Act, 1872
- Medical Jurisprudence
Object of Medical Evidence:
The role and object of Medical Evidence in the Criminal Justice System in India is of great importance. For this purpose, the medical evidence is regarded as ‘opinion evidence’ plays an important and indispensable part of the evidence, particularly in cases of offence committed against women. Ultimately, it is intended to give the suggestions to give more importance to medical evidence than it is accorded.
a) To understand the value of evidence given by the medical expert.
b) To mention the importance of the evidence of a medical expert in the Criminal system in India particularly in cases of offence committed against women in cases like rape and dowry deaths, and to observe whether there is any possibility of increasing the importance of medical evidence in such cases.
c) To know the attitude of different High Courts of India, about evidence given by medical expert through various judicial decisions.
d) To suggest changes to enhance the evidentiary value of a medical expert.
e) To understand the uses and impacts of medical evidence.
Major points and issues of Discussion:
When a weapon is recovered from the scene of the Crime, the investigating officer (I.O.) must get the opinion of a medical expert by showing the same to him, in order to know whether there is any possibility for that weapon to cause as much as injury. A weapon seized is required to be examined, first by a doctor and then by a chemical examiner as the weapon used by the accused may contain his fingerprint. In a murder case, the prosecution must ask the doctor whether the injuries were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death because the intention or knowledge of the person can be inferred only from the nature of the injuries. The I.O. must recover an empty bullet in the case of murder and immediately send it to the forensic laboratory without waiting for the weapon to be recovered. The arms, when recovered, should also be sent to the Ballistic expert in a sealed covered to get his opinion whether the empty bullet could have been fired from the gun, or pistol or a rifle. Inordinate delay in the dispatch of the empty cartilages or bullet may be fatal to the prosecution.
The opinion of the ballistic expert can also be sought to know the distance from which the firearm was fired, a direction from which fire-arm was fired and the type of firearm used.
The post-mortem report indicates the approximate time when the death occurred.
In case of offence like murder, assault, road accidents, abortion, rape, and other cases, where the victim or accused is injured, the search for blood stains are made at the scene of crime on the body or clothing of victim and culprit, on vehicles and its parts, broken glasses etc. and weapon of offences. The blood should be sent to an expert immediately otherwise it decomposes and undergoes a rapid change with the passage of time. An expert decides as to how old the blood sample is by the change in the color.
The word DNA stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA profiling is used to identify an individual and his lineage. The technological device is used to identify a person in criminal and civil cases the main advantage of this device is that the test can be done on small samples and can accurately establish their originals with a high degree of certainty.
The purpose of conducting a blood test is ordinarily to find out the blood relationship or connection between persons. As per Article 20(3) of the Constitution of India, no person can be compelled to be a witness against himself. The earlier law regarding refusal of the witness to give blood sample has now been changed by the reasoned judgment of Hon’ble High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh in Salauddin vs State Of Haryana on 19 November 2009 in Crl. Rev. No.1262 of 2007 it was held that
“It is, therefore, beyond doubt that where investigation involves the collection of evidence that can be gathered from the “examination” of the person of an accused, a court would be entitled to issue a direction in terms of Section 53 of the Code, as Section 53 of the Code permits the use of reasonable force in collecting any evidence from the person of an accused. A direction, therefore, issued by a court directing an accused to furnish his blood sample and simultaneously directing the use of a reasonable force would not violate Article 20(3) or Article 21 of the Constitution of India”.
The science of photography includes the photomicrography which is the science of combining the horoscope and the camera and with its help, minute clues, which are not visible to ordinary eyes, can be seen. The hair, fibers, dust particles, perforation on paper can be examined with this technology. ‘Radiography’ can be used to read the contents of a sealed letter. It is also used to find out the position of fracture, dislocation, presence of bullet and coins in the human body.
The identity of a person can be established by comparison of handwriting also. The investigation of handwriting is done by the hand wring experts, known as calligraphic experts. Sec. 73 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 does not violate Article 20 (3) of the Constitution of India because by giving a direction to an accused person to give his specimen writing, the court does not compel the accused to be a witness against himself. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Ritesh Sinha vs State Of U.P.& Anr on 7th December 2012 considered some important questions and held
“this court also referred to Section 73 of the Indian Evidence Act which authorizes the court to permit the taking of finger impression or specimen handwriting or signature of a person present in the court, if necessary for the purpose of comparison. This court observed that self-incrimination must mean conveying information based upon the personal knowledge of the person giving the information and cannot include merely the mechanical process of producing documents in court which may throw a light on any of the points in controversy, but which do not contain any statement of the accused based on his personal knowledge”.
Narco analysis, Lie Detector Test and Brain Mapping Test:
These are the scientific test involving minimal bodily harm to the accused or person concerned, microanalysis involves injecting a drug to drive a person into a mental stupor. The drug-induced person is then asked questions which are ordinarily presumed to be free of lies. The Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in Smt. Selvi and others versus State of Karnataka and others 2010(2) RCR (Criminal) 896 held that polygraphy/ lie detecting test cannot be conducted without the consent of the person as it violates the Article 20 (3) and Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
Medical Evidence in Rape cases:
Medical evidence is commonly required to support a charge of rape but it is seldom more than corroborative. It is very rare that rape cases are tried without Medical evidence in the cases of rape may be from the following sources-
- Marks of violence on the person of the victim or
- The accused, marks of violence on and around the genitals
- Signs of venereal infection,
- Presence of blood or seminal stains on the cloths of the prosecutrix of the accused
- Presence of spermatozoa in vaginal secretion
- Examination of accused and
- Signs of loss of virginity
In the end, it is concluded that though the Medical Evidence is corroborative in nature even then the Medical Evidence has a pivotal role in the Criminal Jurisdiction and without Medical Evidence, sometimes it is very difficult to judge the integrity, admissibility, and relevancy of the ocular evidence. You need to hire best criminal lawyer in Chandigarh for justice.