May 22, 2013 | 10:30 PM (BD Time)
22 May, 2013 Wednesday
The importance of forensic medicine in criminal justice
Late Khondaker Md. Abu Bakar :
The Forensic Medicine deals with the subjects which are largely connected with the administration of both civil and criminal justice. The Medical Jurisprudence and Forensic Medicine are synonymous both having more or less the same matters to deal. Obviously the Forensic Medicine and the administration of justice are distinctly two different branches of knowledge. But there has been .very close relation between the two subjects in matters of application for a particular purpose. Necessarily the Judges and lawyers are not supposed to have the expert knowledge of the medical science. In matters connected with medical or forensic generally the doctors or medical practitioners are as a matter of rule and practice required to assist the court of law with their specialized knowledge in elucidating the truth of the dispute. The medical evidence is regarded most valuable in the court of law towards arriving at the conclusions. Therefore, the doctor or the medical practitioner must have some knowledge of the laws in connection with which he has to give his opinion and assist the court with the expert knowledge of the subject. Similarly on the contrary, the Judges and the lawyers also should have at least workable knowledge regarding the subjects of the Forensic Medicine. Both the sides must have to play the role complementary to each other where both are required to put their heads together in thrashing out the actual conclusions. If a medical student thinks that his knowledge should be confined to medical science only in matters of diagnosis and treatment of diseases and need not endeavour to acquire more than what is barely necessary for passing the examination and on the other hand a law student thinks that his knowledge should be in the field of law, in that case there will be gap between the two branches of knowledge leading to a situation involving chance of erroneous decision. Experience shows that factually this trend of thinking developed to a great extent which rendered a situation very deplorable for this branch of knowledge in our country eventually lagging far behind as compared to other advanced countries. The Medical Jurisprudence, therefore, requires that a Doctor or Medical practitioner must be acquainted with the relevant 'provisions of the Evidence Act, Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in connection with which he is required to give evidence and assist the court with the expert knowledge.
It has been noticed during the past that the medical students are not generally taking keen interest in the Forensic Medicine resulting in the deterioration of the standard of the performance of their responsibilities in relation to the administration of Criminal Justice. Similarly in most cases the Judges and lawyers very often are found reluctant to go deep into the subject of the Forensic Medicine. The importance of the Forensic Medicine in the field of administration of criminal justice can hardly be over emphasized. Our Forensic Department as is being frequently told, has not been receiving proper attention from the concerned quarters. The standard of technical know-how and the outdated implements on use are not up to the mark which for obvious reasons are not rendering the cherished results.
Hurt, murder, rape, ascertainment of age psychiatry, poisoning, gun shot injuries etc. are the most importi1nt medico-legal aspects which are being dealt with by the Forensic Department. In all these matters the findings of guilt or innocence of an accused largely depends on the medical evidence. When the liberty and life of fellow being depend on the scale the medical persons must be thorough and careful in the discharge of their duties and giving correct findings. If on a wrong finding any miscarriage of justice is occasioned resulting in the conviction of an innocent person, it will be really very sad for the conscience. On the other hand if for the wrong findings the accused is acquitted in that case also the person seeking refreshment of wrongs is deprived of his legal right of justice.
Regarding nature of hurts or wounds, controversies are being experienced almost every day in the court proceedings. Section 319 of the Penal Code defines hurt in the following words:- 'Whoever causes bodily pain, disease or infirmity to any person is said to cause hurt. The hurts/wounds are classified broadly into two categories-simple and grievous which are offences punishable under the Penal Code in varying degrees according to the gravity of their nature. Say for example, in a case involving simple hurt when voluntarily caused the sentence provided under Section 323 of the Penal Code is imprisonment either rigorous i.e. with hard labour or simple without labour which may and to one year or with fine which may extend to one thousand Taka or with both. For the offence of simple hurt caused voluntarily by means of any instrument of shooting, stabbing or cutting or any instrument which used as a weapon of offence, is likely to cause death, or by means of fire or heated substance or by any poison or any corrosive substance, or by means of any explosive substance or by means of any substance which it is deleterious to the human body to inhale, or swallow or by means of any animal, the punishment provided under Section 324 of the Penal Code is the imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to three years or with fine or both. In the similar manner the offences of grievous hurts have been made punishable under sections 325 and 326 of the Penal Code. Under Section 325 of the Penal Code, the punishment provided for is the imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to seven years and shall also be liable to fine, while under Section 326, the punishment prescribed for is imprisonment for life or in the alternative imprisonment either simple or rigorous which may extend to ten years and with fine. The offence of simple hurt dealt with under section 324 is the aggravated form of that mentioned under section 323 of the Penal Code. Similar is the position of Section 326 in relation to section 325 with regard to the grievous hurt. In the face of increasing volume of offences of causing hurt by throwing acid or corrosive substance, new provisions for deterrent punishment of death or imprisonment for life and fine under Section 326 A of the Penal Code have been incorporated in the Penal Code in 1984. It is not the law that every case of acid burning will come within the ambit of this Section. Grievous hurt when voluntarily caused by means of corrosive substance in respect of both eyes or by gouging out the same or permanent disfiguration of head or face as mentioned in second and sixth clause of Section 320 of the Penal Code are to be meted with the vengeance of law by deterrent punishment. Side by side with the offence of grievous hurt caused voluntarily by throwing acid or by corrosive substance, the offences of removing or gouging out both the eyes have also been made punishable under Section 326 A of the Penal Code. The grievous hurt has been defined under section 320 of the Penal Code which runs as follows:- "The following kinds of hurt only are designated as grievous:-
Secondly:- Permanent privation of the sight of either eye.
Thirdly:- Permanent privation of the hearing of either ear.
Fourthly:- Privation of any member or joint.
Fifthly:- Destruction or permanent impairing of the powers of any member or joint.
Sixthly:- Permanent disfiguration of the head or face.
Seventhly:- Fracture or dislocation of
bone or tooth.
Eighthly:- Any hurt which endangers life or which causes the sufferer to be during the space of twenty days in severe bodily pain or unable to follow his ordinary pursuits."
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