Doctors can take tests on accused if custodial torture is suspected: HC

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Kochi, July 19 (PTI): The Kerala High Court on Monday said doctors can take necessary medical tests of accused persons in case of indications or complaints of custodial torture.

Justice P B Suresh Kumar said the order issued on June 14 by the State Health Department, keeping in abeyance an earlier circular directing medical officers to conduct tests like renal profile, creatine phosphokinase (CPK) and ultrasound of the abdomen on all the accused, would not prevent doctors from taking the tests if deemed appropriate.

The order came on a doctor's plea saying the June 14 order had put medical officers in a dilemma as to whether they should carry out the tests if they suspect serious internal injuries as the police would insist on noting only the external injuries.

In the petition, Dr Prathibha K said the State government appointed the Justice Naryana Kurup Commission to look into the death of an accused in 2019 due to custodial torture.

The Commission, thereafter, recommended detection of any hidden or internal injuries by medical officers through the tests.

The panel was of the view that the accused had died of custodial torture as the internal injuries were not reported.

Without understanding the recommendation, the petitioner said, the Health Department issued a circular on June 4 stating that all the tests have to be conducted in each case.

Subsequently, the Kannur Jail Superintendent issued a circular on June 12 stating that before lodging the accused in jail, the results of these tests have to be verified by the prison, the petitioner said.

Then, the government came out with the June 14 circular keeping in abeyance the first one issued on June 4, the petitioner added. PTI HMP NVG NVG

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