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Testimony of doctor vital evidence to punish guilty: J&K Chief Justice

UNI Nov 13, 2018

Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court, Justice Gita Mittal on November 11 asserted that the testimony of doctor is vital evidence in a domestic or sexual violence case, to punish the guilty.

She called upon the doctors to use their inner conscience while attending the victims of such crimes, so that their opinions become the main evidence in determining the cases by the judiciary. Speaking at a day-long training programme for presiding officers and doctors on handling survivors of sexual violence at hospitals, Justice Mittal said, ''The purpose of holding this important programme is to explain the significant role a doctor plays in helping a victim to get justice at times.

''In a case of domestic violence, a doctor, while trying to ascertain the reasons behind the patient's condition, usually records the patient's history. If the victim dies, the same statement recorded by the doctor before the death of the patient is treated by the Judge as the 'dying declaration' of the victim,'' she added.

The dying declaration, supported by the testimony of the doctor, confirming that the victim actually made that statement, can be relied upon to convict the husband or the in-laws or whosoever has committed the crime, and at times, it could even be relied upon to punish the accused as per law, said the Chief Justice.

She called for organising frequent interactions between doctors and lawyers to clear doubts that get created at various instances, while delivering the professional duties. She also deliberated on the needs to be done, if the medical examination of a victim of sexual violence records no evidence of rape. ''Rape is not a medical term, it is certainly not taught in the medical books. It has been interpreted after the 2013 amendment to the law and has several nuances and connotations, including outraging modesty and other terms,'' she said, adding that these are all legal expressions, so what the doctor has to record while doing a medical examination of a patient, is debatable.

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