Medical examination of custodial persons
The State government has informed the Kerala High Court that it has decided to issue modified order for conducting higher investigations and tests on custodial persons brought by the police for medical examinations based on the recommendations of the medical officers who examine such persons.
The submission was made when a writ petition filed by Parathibha seeking to allow doctors who conduct medical examination of the accused brought by the police to prescribe tests as the doctors deemed fit and proper came up for hearing. The petition was filed in the context of the recommendations made by the K. Narayayana Kurup Commission which had inquired into the custodial death of Rajkumar of Idukki.
The commission had recommended that the Director of Health Services and the Director of Medical Education be directed to ensure that all persons brought by the police for medical examination are subject to an initial screening to unearth the "iceberg phenomenon" by directing the medical officer to order tests such as renal profile, urine myoglobin, creatine phosphokinase (CPK), and C-reactive protein (CRP) tests besides ultrasound scanning of the abdomen to rule out any internal injury. Accordingly, the Health Department had issued an order directing to conduct the tests as suggested by the commission.
The government submitted that the order had created confusion among the police and medical practitioners. The State Police Chief had also reported that the order might force the police not to arrest any accused person. Besides, the prison authorities had started demanding screening certificates in accordance with the new circular before admitting the accused persons in judicial custody.
The tests should be made simpler and logistics should be made widely available in all the government hospitals up to the taluk level before implementing the recommendations. As a result, the government had kept in abeyance the order until further orders. The government had now decided to modify the order by insisting on higher investigations and tests by the doctors who evaluated a custodial person and sought comments from the Health and Family Welfare Department.
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