Published On : Tue, Jan 20th, 2015

‘Don’t perform autopsies as a reflex but only when imperative’

Nagpur: A senior forensic expert from Maharashtra has sought to put an end to the ‘abattoir-style’ post-mortems carried out on police requests daily, saying autopsies need to be performed only when absolutely necessary.

Indrajit KhandekarAccording to Indrajit Khandekar, in-charge of Forensic Medicine at Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS) Sevagram (Wardha), who has proposed five policy changes at government level on the issue, feels that lakhs of unnecessary post-mortem (PM) examinations are being carried out on police request every year as part of death investigations, which are turning mortuaries into “production-line abattoirs”.

The rate could be reduced by 60-65 per cent if government/police department adopts the method proposed by him which is in slight modification of the method that is followed in some other countries, Khandekar said.

For effective and uniform implementation, he has also proposed some changes in 174 CrPC, government format of Medical death Certificate & Inquest format.

“At the initial stage itself we can surely curtail postmortem an all admitted MLC ( Medico Legal Cases) deaths in hospital where cause of death is known to the treating doctor,” he said.

The forensic expert had raised some autopsy concerns in a representation submitted to Union & State Ministry of Home affairs and Law & Judiciary including Prime Minister and Chief Minister of Maharashtra, recently.

“This does not mean that we shouldn’t perform autopsies. They are absolutely essential in many cases but that autopsy should only be done when it is a must to know the cause of death and to find out whether its natural or unnatural. If its clear with evidence then it should not be performed.

“We have to strike a balance in a different way and have to be more respectful to the rights of families and their views, and not simply perform autopsies as a reflex,” Khandekar felt.

“In our country, autopsies have almost become automatic. What police department have done is turned PM into a production-line system whereby the mortuaries are more like abattoirs,” he said.

Post-mortem is nothing but mutilation of body and such mutilation should only be done when it is absolutely necessary, he further said.