Central Information Commission
|Name of the case||Surendra Kumar Vyas v. Central Public Information Commission|
|Appellant||Punit Vyas s/o Surendra Kumar Vyas|
|Respondent||Central Public Information Commission|
|Bench/Judges||Yashovardhan Azad, IC|
|Acts involved||RTI act, CrPC|
|Important Sections||53, 54, 173 CrPC|
|Year of the case||2017|
In this article, the author provides a brief on a case relating to medico-legal cases(MLC) where the appellant has filed an RTI application with regard to the copy of the MLC report. We also discuss some provisions relating to MLC and the duty of doctors in medico-legal cases.
Each and every clinical professional has to perform medico-legal duty during the discharge of his/her duty. The MLC represents an important part of medical practice in the emergency departments. It is defined as a case of injury or ailment. It is a case in which investigations by law enforcement agencies are required.
In this case the appellant, Punit Vyas sought for a certified copy of the MLC report. Here he also demanded for details of subsequent examinations.
Background of the case
In RTI application filed on 20/09/2016, the appellant looked for the following information:
- The administrative instructions, lawful provisions with regard to the MLC examinations at the Emergency Department of the hospital, and by experts in their respective departments.
- Information with respect to lawful provisions, administrative instructions to provide MLC reports or not to provide MLC to the concerned individuals.
The letter of CPIO dated 03/10/2016 replied as under:
- Statutory provision under section 39 of CRPC related to the conduct of MLC at the emergency department of the hospital.
- Normally it is not issued to the patient. But, under RTI act 2005 it may be issued to the concerned individual or his nearest relative in case of death of the individual. The ‘Indian Medical Council (Professional conduct, etiquette, and ethics) Regulation, 2002’ deals with providing medical records to the patient.
- Dissatisfied with the response of public authority, the appellant filed an appeal.
- The Appellant Authority in its order dated 24/11/2016 upheld the decision of the CPIO.
- The appellant then approached the Commission.
- Both parties are present and equally heard.
- During the hearing, the appellant expressed his dissatisfaction with the information received.
- On the other hand, PIO repeats his earlier reply, in which he said that the I.O. of the case of the concerned police officer receives the original copy of the MLC from the causality/MRD. And the duplicate copy remains with the hospital. In the case of Punit Vyas also the original, the original MLC was collected by Mr. Rakesh, Head Constable P.S. Vasant Kunj, New Delhi. And in line with usual practice, whenever the applicant applies for the certified copy of MLC, he is advised to collect it from the concerned I.O. as the original copy remains with him.
- He also seeks liberty to clarify his reply furnished against point no. 2. He further stated that MLC test reports generated at the instance of Police are not revealed to anyone. He went to the extent of saying that the reply furnished on point no. 2 is applicable only for other medical prescriptions, as the same is revealed to the patient only.
- PIO further stated that there is no administrative instruction available regarding Medico-Legal Cases in the hospital.
Punit Vyas s/o Surendra Kumar Vyas requested a certified photocopy of the MLC report and details of subsequent examination on request of Police station Vasant Kunj, Delhi.
The appellant was informed by the CPIO through a letter that a certified copy of MLC may be obtained from the concerned investigating officer of Vasant Kunj Police Station,
Question of law
Whether the accused or complainant has an absolute and unqualified right to receive a copy of MLC reports of self or each other?
It is a medical-legal case where the doctor, attending the patient, after examining the patient, thinks that some investigation by law enforcement agencies is essential.
Each enrolled medical professional needs to perform medico-legal obligation during the release of his/her obligation. Notwithstanding, his main goal is to save the life of the patient as held by the Supreme Court, in Parmananda Katara v. Union of India. In a similar case, the Medical Council of India expressed that all enrolled medical specialists must take care of the sick and the harmed quickly and give timely medical care available. The life of an individual is undeniably more significant than the legal formalities.
As indicated by the Indian Medical Council (Profession Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002 made under the Medical Council Act, 1956, and enrolled clinical specialists should be agreeable in recognition and authorization of clean law and guideline in light of a legitimate concern for general wellbeing.
Obligation to report Medico-Legal Case (MLC) to Police
In Pattipati Venkaiah v. State of AP, the High Court of Andhra Pradesh declared that the doctor’s obligation is to take care of the wounds of the individual produced before him. His primary exertion ought to be to save the life of the patient and afterward illuminate the police and document unmistakably all the injuries seen by him in MLC. In this way, the obligation of the doctor is to give medical aid, even in MLCs, that has been extended out to the private doctors also.
A treating doctor should record a proper history, examination including general condition, level of awareness, fundamental boundaries and report of examinations and different conditions of the case, and afterward dissect the injuries to choose if it is an MLC or not. And afterward, inform MLC to the closest police station.
Some of the provisions providing for medical examinations under the Code are:
53. Examination of accused by medical practitioner at the request of a police officer:-
- At the point when an individual is captured on a charge of committing an offense of such a nature and claimed to have been committed under such conditions that there is sensible justification for believing that an examination of his person will manage the cost of proof regarding the commission of an offense, it will be legal for an enlisted clinical specialist, acting in line with a police officer not beneath the position of sub-inspector, and for any individual acting in compliance with common decency in his guide and under his bearing, to make such examination of the individual captured as is sensibly vital so as to find out the facts which may help in providing evidence and to utilize such power as is sensible for that purpose.
- At whatever point the individual of a female is to be inspected under this section, the examination will be made uniquely by, or under the management of, a female enrolled medical practitioner. Clarification.- In this part and in section 54,” enlisted medical practitioner” signifies a medical practitioner who has any perceived medical capability as characterized in provision (h) of section 2 of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 (102 of 1956 ) and whose name has been entered in a State Medical Register.
54. Examination of captured individual by medical practitioner in line with the captured individual:-
- When an individual who is captured, regardless of whether on a charge or in any case claims, when he is delivered before a Magistrate or whenever during the time of his detainment in custody that examination of his body will bear the cost of proof which will refute the commission by him of any offense or which will build up the commission by some other individual of any offense against his body, the Magistrate will, whenever mentioned by the captured individual so to do direct the examination of the body of such individual by an enrolled medical practitioner l except if the Magistrate thinks about that the solicitation is made with the end goal of vexation or delay or for vanquishing the end of justice.
- A medical examination of the victim of rape. – (1) Where, during the phase when an offence of committing rape or attempt to commit rape is under scrutiny, it is proposed to get the individual of the lady with whom rape is alleged or attempted to have been committed or attempted, analysed by a medical expert, such examination will be led by an enlisted medical practitioner utilized in a medical clinic run by the Government or a nearby local authority and without a such a specialist, by some other enrolled medical practitioner, with the assent of such lady or of an individual skillful to give such assent for her benefit and such lady will be sent to such enrolled medical practitioner within 24 hours from the hour of getting the data identifying with the commission of such offence.
- The enrolled medical professional, to whom such lady is sent will, immediately, inspect her and set up a report of her examination giving the accompanying points of interest, in particular:-
- the name and address of the lady and of the individual by whom she was brought;
- the age of the lady;
- the portrayal of material taken from the individual of the lady for DNA profiling;
- marks of injury, assuming any, on the individual of the lady;
- the general state of mind of the lady; and
- other material points of interest in sensible detail.
- The report will state decisively the explanations behind every end showed up.
- The report will explicitly record that the assent of the lady or of the individual skillful to give such assent for her sake to such assessment had been gotten.
- The specific time of beginning and completion of the examination will likewise be noted in the report.
- The enlisted medical professional will, immediately forward the report to the examination official who will advance it to the Magistrate alluded to in section 173 as a major aspect of the document alluded to in clauses (a) of sub-section (5) of that section.
- Nothing in this part will be interpreted as rendering lawful any examination without the assent of the lady or of any individual capable to give such assent for her benefit.
Section 53 CrPC features the object of Medico-Legal examination. The articulation “determine the facts which may bear the cost of such proof,” rules out the uncertainty that the MLC examination is directed to find out facts that may prove or negate other facts. Basically, the MLC examination is a guide to Investigation. Upon the culmination of examination, the MLC report shapes part of the report of the Investigation officer under Section 173 CrPC.
Section 173 CrPC:
173. Report of policemen on completion of investigation:-
- Every examination under this Chapter will be completed immediately.
(i) As soon as it is finished, the officer accountable for the police station will forward to a Magistrate engaged to take cognizance of the offence on a police report, a report in the structure endorsed by the State Government, expressing
- the names of the parties;
- the nature of the data;
- the names of the persons who have all the earmarks of being familiar with the case;
- whether any offence seems to have been committed and, if assuming this is the case, by whom;
- whether the accused has been captured;
- whether he has been released on his bond and, if provided this is true, weather with or without sureties;
- whether he has been sent in custody under section 170.
(ii) The officer shall likewise convey, In such a way as may be recommended by the State Government, the action taken by him, to the individual, if any, by whom the data relating to the commission of the offence was first given.
(5)When such report is in regard of a case to which section 170 applies, the police officer will forward to the Magistrate along with the report-
- all records or significant concentrates thereof on which the prosecution proposes to depend other than those effectively sent to the Magistrate during investigation;
- the articulations recorded under section 161 of all the persons whom the prosecution proposes to inspect as its witness.
(6) If the police officer is of supposition that any aspect of any such articulation isn’t pertinent to the topic of the procedures or that its revelation to the accused and is inexpedient in the public interest, he will demonstrate that aspect of the statement and affix a note mentioning the Magistrate to reject that part from the duplicates to be granted to the accused and expressing his explanations behind creation such solicitation.
(7)Where the police officer investigating the case thinks that it’s helpful to do so, he may furnish to the accused duplicates for all or any of the documents alluded to in sub-section(5).
The disputable inquiry, hence, is whether the accused or complainant has an absolute and unqualified right to get a duplicate of MLC reports of self or one another? The compelling answer that streams from the perusing of the aforementioned arrangements is NO. MLC report is a piece of proof that structures part of the report under Section 173 CrPC. Section 173(6) gives discretion to the Police officer to demand Magistrate for the redaction of any piece of conclusive report. Additionally, the articulation happening in Section 173(7) thinks that it’s convenient so to do rules out the uncertainty that the Investigation Officer isn’t under an absolute obligation to furnish the report under Section 173 to the denounced before the Magistrate has taken discernment of any offense on the basis thereof.
After hearing parties and scrutiny of record, the Commissions finds that the reply furnished to the appellant is vague. Taking into consideration the clarification offered by the PIO in course of the hearing, the Commission orders the PIO to furnish a revised reply on point no. 2 within 14 days of receipt of this order.
The Commission finds that the MLC report is a classified document that can’t be disclosed before the stage of preparation and acknowledgment of the final report under Section 173 CrPC. By and large, in hands of the Investigation officer or Police, the MLC report will stay absolved from divulgence till the stage of recording of report u/s 173 CrPC under clauses g) and (h) of Section 8 the RTI Act if the contemplations specified in the respective clauses are met.
After the MLC records are sent to Police by Doctor/Hospital, the previous turn into the custodian of data for the purpose behind the RTI Act. Regardless of whether a duplicate of the MLC record is held with the Doctor/Hospital, the equivalent doesn’t render the Hospital a custodian of the record. The MLC records so arranged are likened to expert guidance offered by the medical professional under a connection of trust with the Police/investigation agency. The record is accordingly held by the Hospital/Doctor in a fiduciary capacity. It is an additionally settled situation of law that what can’t be accomplished straightforwardly can’t be made sure about in a roundabout way. Hence, in the hands of the Doctor/Hospital, MLC records stay absolved essentially under statement (e) of Section 8(1) of the RTI Act except if larger public intrigue warrants such information.
As a continuation of the previously mentioned, the Commission finds that the RTI application has been managed satisfactorily. No ground of impedance is made out.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an MLC?
- What duties are to be performed by doctors in Medico-legal cases?
- What does Section 53 of Crpc provide for?
- What is the question of law in this case?
- What does section 54 of Crpc provide for?