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Delhi HC: Medical reports from jail hospitals should clearly state diagnosis

The High Court also advised doctors to be more cautious while giving medical certificates for the purposes of submitting them as evidence before courts

OBSERVING THAT advantage was being taken of the fact that judges are not medical experts and that applications on medical grounds are now being filed as a “ruse” to get interim bail by accused persons, the Delhi High Court has directed Jail Superintendents to ensure that medical reports from jail hospitals must clearly state the history, examination findings, and the clinical diagnosis along with its interpretation in simpler terms.

It also advised doctors to be more cautious while giving medical certificates for the purposes of submitting them as evidence before courts and further said the status reports of jail doctors should be explicit and explain not just in medical jargon but also in simple language the complex medical terms used.

The court said the judges should be able to understand the diagnosis, whether the illness can be simply treated in the jail hospital or if there is any nature of emergency involved, after reading the medical reports from the jail hospital. It also issued guidelines for the reports to be prepared by referral hospitals.

“Sketchy, wishy-washy medical documents from any random private doctor with ambiguous, incomplete documentation in illegible handwriting will not be entertained in future, rather viewed seriously with suspicion,” said Justice Subarmonium Prasad in the order.

The court also said that in a case where medical reports are ambiguous and create suspicion in the mind of a Judge then it ought to be sent for scrutiny by a Medical Board consisting of two-three specialists from a government hospital so that they can endorse or refute such document.

“If it is found that the reports are only made to prolong the period of bail then, such report should be viewed seriously by the Court, which must consider initiating appropriate proceedings,” it added.

It also said that if it is found that an attempt is made to simply prolong or use “lame excuse” and take help of “such ambiguous medical documents provided by doubtful/questionable private doctors,” it would be viewed seriously by the court.

“Action should be taken against those private doctors. It must be noted that private doctors who submit such sketchy, wishy-washy medical reports are guilty of an offence under Section 192 IPC,” reads the order.

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