Q. Is an arrested person entitled to be examined by a medical practitioner after his arrest?
Yes, the arrested person is entitled to be examined by a medical practitioner after his arrest. The provision for the same is made in section 54 of CrPC.
Section 54 reads as-
(1) When any person is arrested, he shall be examined by a medical officer in the service of Central or State Government, and in case the medical officer is not available, by a registered medical practitioner soon after the arrest is made:
Provided that where the arrested person is a female, the examination of the body shall be made only by or under the supervision of a female medical officer, and in case the female medical officer is not available, by a female registered medical practitioner.
(2) The medical officer or a registered medical practitioner examining the arrested person shall prepare the record of such examination, mentioning therein any injuries or marks of violence upon the person arrested, and the approximate time when such injuries or marks may have been inflicted.
(3) Where an examination is made under sub-section (1), a copy of the report of such examination shall be furnished by the medical officer or registered medical practitioner, as the case may be, to the arrested person or the person nominated by such arrested person.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court, in D.K.Basu v. State of West Bengal, AIR 1997 SC 610 had also stated that the arrestee should be examined at the time of his arrest. If there are major and minor injuries present on his/her body, then the same must be recorded at that time.
The ‘Inspection Memo’ must be signed both by the arrestee and the police officer effecting the arrest and its copy provided to the arrestee.
The arrestee should be subjected to a medical examination by the trained doctor every 48 hours during his detention in custody by a doctor on the panel of approved doctors appointed by the Director, Health Services of the concerned State or Union Territory, Director, Health Services should prepare such a panel for all Tehsils and Districts as well.
- It is to be noted that examination of accused under Section 53 is at the request of the police officer and in section 54 there is no request. It the duty upon state to get examination of arrested person soon after his arrest.
In Sheela Barse v. State of Maharashtra, the Supreme Court has held that the arrested accused person must be informed by the magistrate about his right to be medically examined in terms of Section 54 of the Code of Criminal Procedure in case he has complaints of physical torture or maltreatment in police custody. The Supreme Court has cautioned the lower courts not to adopt a casual approach to custodian torture.
In Mukesh Kumar v. State, it was held that where an accused sought his medical examination, in case of torture, the procedure adopted by the Magistrate in examining the body of the accused person himself, and then dismissing the application for medical examination holding that on his observation that they were not seen in normal postures, was wholly unwarranted and atrocious.