AIIMS in fix over 'courtroom exposure' for students
The AIIMS authority is in a dilemma whether to provide the practical exposure to MBBS medical students about the courtroom procedures of medical evidence recording in order to teach medico-legal practices, or not.
An RTI revealed that the Medical Council of India (MCI) does not mandate it.
However, when asked if AIIMS or any government medical institution is taking MBBS students to the court for the same reason, the AIIMS authority in a reply to the RTI said, "We are not taking MBBS students for court visit in order to teach forensic Medicine. But it will be a helpful exposure for the medical student if they are exposed to the court procedures and evidence/ expert witness."
According to an MBBS student, Mohamed Khader Meeran, due to non-exposure to court procedures and lack of hands-on training about how to depose and give expert medical evidence in the court of law, the students are not becoming competent enough to take proper medical evidence in a court of law.
"The students are unable to understand the practical intricacies of deposition of expert medical evidence," added Meeran.
Sources stated that it has been observed that doctors are unable to answer important basic questions in court .
Also. the doctors are unable to justify their opinion with reasons while deposing as a medical witness in some cases.
"Even the Indian judiciary, in various cases, has highlighted that doctors have given shocking opinions in the courtroom, often contradicting documents and records. Such evidence has resulted into miscarriage of justice," added the source.
Every MBBS graduate after completion of medical course has to handle various types of medico-legal issues like certification of fitness while recording dying declaration, age estimation of a rape victim and trafficked victims, medico-legal exam of assault cases, road traffic accident cases and rape victims and accused.
Also, the doctor is responsible for conducting medico-legal autopsies in murder cases, dowry deaths.
Also for conducting unnatural death cases including accident cases.
In all the above cited cases, a doctor has to give expert evidence as a witness on oath, in the court of law and he is expected to give an opinion on various medico-legal issues.
"We will appreciate if medical universities across the country to prescribe for practical assessment examination so as to assess whether the students has become competent," said Dr Kuldeep Kumar, Assistant Professor, University College of Medical Sciences.