Maharashtra Govt Says Inquest Can be Waived if Suspected COVID-19 Patient Dies

The Maharashtra government said on Tuesday that the police can decide not to conduct inquest after the death of a suspected coronavirus patient at hospital.

As the doctors and paramedical staff as well as police personnel can contract coronavirus infection during the inquest procedure, this waiver was being granted, said a Government Resolution (GR) issued by the Home Department.

The number of coronavirus cases in the state crossed 1,000 on Tuesday, while 64 persons have died.

Inquest is an inquiry by a coroner's court into the cause of a death. Under section 174 of the Criminal Procedure Code, it is mandatory for the police to conduct inquest in the case of unnatural death.

But in view of the present situation, there is fear that doctors, nurses and police personnel may contract the infection during inquest (which can involve autopsy), the GR said.

Therefore, the police officers can decide not to conduct inquest after consulting concerned doctors when a suspected COVID-19 patient dies at hospital, it said.

The GR will be in operation as long as provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897, and Disaster Management Act, 2005, are in force in the state, it added.