You are on page 1of 73


Dear Reader,
These notes consist of a total of 73 pages. The source of the notes are notes from this
semester, notes from previous years and any hand-outs given this year and last year.
Please read any instructions given in any part of the notes (titled note). The highlighted
portions are those which I am slightly doubtful of. Please let me know in case you have
any queries. Hope this helps. Best of luck and happy studying!
Ankita and Geetan

Unit I Definition, Nature, Need and scope of Forensic Science and Medical Jurisprudence

History of Forensic Science

Forensic Science Laboratories, Institutions and their role in Criminal


Scope of Forensic Science- National and International

Importance under Criminal Procedure Code 1973, Indian Evidence Act

Investigation and Crime Scene

1. The following steps need to be followed in every investigation(a) Protection
(b) Photography
(c) Searching
(d) Sketching
(e) Recording
(f) Handling the Clues
2. There are four methods of searching, which have been discussed as follows(a) Zonal- the crime scene is divided into zones after which the search is carried
(b) Spiral- the search is carried out spirally, either inward or outward.
(c) Strip- the search is carried out in a parallel manner after dividing the crime
scene into stripes.
(d) Cross-hatch- the search is first carried out in a parallel manner and then
3. Sketching is generally carried out to determine the distance between objects.
There are two methods for sketching, namely-

(a) Coordinate method- This is generally done for indoor crimes. A focal point is
taken and distances are calculated from that point.
(b) Polar method- This is done for outdoor crimes. Herein, a landmark is taken to
be the focal point and distances are calculated from that point. There are no
boundaries in such case.
4. A scene of crime is where clues lie and an observation of the same can lead the
investigation in a particular direction.
5. It helps verify the statement of the witness or a suspect and by the study of the
modus operandi may even lead to detection of the perpetrator.
6. Thus, the purpose of investigation of the scene of crime is to collect the evidence,
link it to the perpetrator and establish its guilt.
7. However, the evidence on such scene of crime may be tampered with
intentionally or unintentionally. Thus, it must be protected not just from a curious
bystander but also from curious officials.
8. Further, the scene of crime must be photographed, searched and sketched before
anyone is allowed to wander around the place.
9. First a preliminary survey is carried out where nothing is touched or moved, until
it is photographed, sketched and described in minute detail, giving its nature,
features, location, etc.
10. All evidence must essentially be marked for the purpose of examination.

Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL), Institutions and their role in Criminal

1. Some of the institutions in India dealing with forensic science are as follows(a)

Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD)

Central Forensic Science Laboratory
State Forensic Science Laboratory
Regional Forensic Science Laboratory
Chemical Examiner Laboratory

(Previously, all such institutions were located in Kolkata)

(f) National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB)- Located in Delhi
(g) Governments Examiners of Questioned Documents (GEQD)- It is the oldest
institution. Was previously located in Simla. Now located in Chandigarh.
(h) Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics (CDFD)- Earlier part of
CCMB, Hyderabad. But, when cases regarding DNA Fingerprinting started
increasing, a new institution called the CDFD was established.
2. Just before independence, Henry, the head of the police department started the
practice of taking fingerprints. There were two persons under him (one of them

was called Azim) who started classifying such fingerprints and maintaining
records of the same. This is known as Henrys model.
3. Previously, there were only 3 divisions in an FSL, namely- physics, chemistry and
biology. Now, it comprises of the following divisions(a) Serology
(b) Ballistics
(c) Documents
(d) Finger-printing
(e) DNA Profiling
(f) Toxicology
(g) Prohibition (to detect the percentage of alcohol)
(h) Narcotics
4. Sometimes certain Central Departments as well as State Governments have their
own institutions for examination of documents, generally as part of their
respective Forensic Science Laboratories.
5. Similarly, the BPRD has three such institutions called the GEQD.
6. The oldest was started in 1906 and was located in Simla. Now, it has been shifted
to Chandigarh.
7. The other two are in Kolkata and Hyderabad.
8. Most states also have mobile FSLs, which vary in number and administrative
control, across states.
9. They primarily help the police at the crime scene, to locate, collect and preserve
10. They also help in providing facilities for photographing the scene and the
11. They help in collection of samples for comparison as well as providing leads as
regards the investigation.
12. Some police departments also have a scientific division (Scientific CID Sections)
which help them in matters such as technical photography, scientific surveillance
and investigation and other technical needs.
13. Police departments also have a computer division.
14. As the fate of the accused person is largely dependent on the results given by the
FSL, the following steps must be taken to ensure that the facility does not give a
wrong result either intentionally or negligently or otherwise(a) Accredition of the FSL as well as the experts
(b) Quality assurance of the processes, tools and output
(c) Standardisation of tools, techniques and basic data
(d) Automation- so as to prevent human error
15. All major states in India have a finger print bureau.
16. The Centre also has such a bureau/department under the NCRB. It has fingerprint
records in a digitised and computerised form, which may be utilised by any police
force in India.
17. It performs the following functions(a) Collect, classify and store records


Eliminate the record of a dead person

Search and locate the finger print of a person in its records
Compare finger prints
Visit the scene of crime and collect, locate and finally compare the finger
prints found
(f) Give evidence in court whenever required
18. The FSL comprises of the following persons (in hierarchy)(a) Director (Head of the FSL)
(b) Additional Director (Administration)
(c) Joint Director (Administration)
(d) Deputy Director (Head of the Department)
(e) Assistant Director
(f) Senior and Junior Scientific Assistants
(g) Laboratory Assistants
(h) Laboratory Attendants
Unit II Identification- A Medico-legal perspective

Skeletal system of humans, skeletal remains identity, superimposition


The human skeleton consists of the axial skeleton which consists of the bones of the
head, the neck and the trunk and the appendicular skeleton which consists of the bones of
the limbs.
Skull1. The head consists of the skull which has a large cavity called the cranial cavity
into which the brain fits.
2. Below the forehead, there are two large depressions in the skull, called the right
and left orbits into which the eyes fit.
3. The region of the forehead is called the frontal bone.
4. The region at the back of the head is called the occipital bone.
5. The region at the top of the skull and its side walls is called the parietal bone.
6. The region at the temple, just above the ears is called the temporal bone.
7. The bone of the upper jaw is called maxilla and the bone of the lower jaw is
called mandible.
8. The bone of the cheek is called the zygomatic bone.
The vertebral column or the back-bone
1. The vertebral column is made up of a large number of irregular shaped bones
called vertebrae.
2. There are a total of 33 vertebrae.
3. The vertebrae in the neck are called cervical vertebrae. These are 7 in number.

4. The vertebrae of the thorax are called thoracic vertebrae and these are 12 in
5. The vertebrae lower down, forming the posterior wall of the abdomen are called
the lumbar vertebrae. These are 5 in number.
6. The vertebrae at the end of the vertebral column are called sacrum. This consists
of 5 sacral bones and a small bone called the coccyx towards the end which is
made up of 4 rudimentary vertebrae.
7. There are a total of 26 bones in the vertebral column, taking the sacral bone and
the coccyx as single bones.
Skeleton of the thorax
This consists of the rib cage, a bony cage like structure which protects the heart, lungs
and certain other organs. Towards the centre of the thorax is the sternum or the breast
bone. It lies in the anterior wall of the thorax.
Skeleton of the upper limbs
1. The upper limb consists of the shoulder girdle which is known as the pectoral
girdle. It consists of the clavicle or the collar bone (a rod like bone) and the
scapula which is a triangular bone.
2. Then there is the shoulder joint which joins the upper part of the arm to the
3. The arms consist of a single bone called the humerus.
4. The elbow joint which is at the elbow joins the arm to the forearm.
5. The forearm comprises of two bones, the radius, which is a bone towards the
thumb and the ulna, which is a bone toward the little finger.
6. At the wrist, the wrist joint joins the lower part of the radius and ulna to the bones
of the wrist.
7. There are eight, roughly cuboidal bones in the wrist known as the carpal bones.
8. There are five rod like bones of the palm called the metacarpal bones.
9. The bones of the fingers/digits are called phalanges. These are proximal (closest
to the palm), middle and distal (farthest away from the palm).
10. The thumb consists only of the proximal and distal phalanges.
Skeleton of the lower limbs
1. This consists of the bones of the pelvic girdle and those of the free limb.
2. The pelvic girdle has the hip bone on either side, which is made up of 3 bones
fused together, the Ilium, Pubis and Ischium.
3. At the hip, there is a hip joint which joins the hip to the legs.
4. The thighs consist of a single bone called the femur. This is the largest bone in the
human body.
5. At the knee bone, there is a knee joint.

6. In the lower part of the leg, there are 2 bones, the tibia and the fibula. The tibia is
the medial of the two. It is towards the front. The fibula is the one which is
outwards or backwards.
7. The tarsal bones are present on the posterior part of the foot at the ankle. These
are 7 in number.
8. There are 5 metatarsal bones towards the anterior part.
9. The calcaneous form the heel.
10. There are phalanges in the toe, the proximal, middle and distal.
11. There are only 2 phalanges in the two-the proximal and the distal.
The medico-legal significance1. The structure of certain bones such as those of the hands and feet, the jaws and
the skull are characteristic to humans. Thus, if such bones are found, the source
may be found and human bones may be differentiated from animal bones.
2. There is no problem where the number of bones is more. The problem arises even
when there is a single old bone which creates a problem. Then, there may be
difficulty in establishing the source.
3. In case of new bones, they contain certain organic matter which gives a precipitin
reaction with human antisera and thus helps in establishing the source. This may
be done through DNA profiling.
4. Further, where there a number of bones, the number of victims may be identified
as a particular person can only have a particular set of bones and there cant be
any duplication.
5. Certain bones such as the vertebrae and the mandible are characteristic of the
human body and resist decay, action of fire and chemicals.
6. There is also one coccyx in the human body. Thus, the presence of such bones can
help establish the number of victims.
7. The age of a victim may be established by way of examining the teeth,
ossification of bones and rarefaction of bones.
8. While examining the teeth, the wear of the cement of the teeth, the transparency
of the teeth, the roots, closing and resorption of teeth are important factors.
9. As regards ossification, it takes place from the young age till adulthood.
Thereafter, there is no ossification. Hence, it helps in determination of a persons
10. As regards rarefaction, it takes place in the old age.
11. Further, the size, structure, strength and composition of bones and materials of
certain bones particularly the fingers and toes helps in determination of the age of
the victim.
12. The sex of the deceased is difficult to determine if only a few bones are available.
13. The pelvic bone, breast bone, skull and spinal cord play an important role in
determining the sex of a person.
14. The ratio of the width of the shoulder and the hip is more than 1 in males and less
than 1 in females.
15. Further, the bones of females are smoother and weaker.

16. The height of the person may be determined by multiplying the length of the bone
with the suitable multiplying factor.
17. The multiplying factor in the following cases is as follows(a) Humerus- 5.2
(b) Radius- 6.5
(c) Ulna- 6
(d) Femur- 3.7
(e) Tibia- 4.3
(f) Fibula- 4.4

Though the multiplying factor may vary from males, females,

children and across different sections of the population, these factors would give a
rough estimate of height in most cases.
Cremation is common not only among Hindus but also among
other people across the world. The burning of bones destroys substantial evidence.
However, certain bones such as those of the teeth can withstand
fire and thus help in identification of a person and finding out his age.
But, most times, the bones after being burnt become brittle and
get reduced to ash. The organic matter in bones is lost. The ash helps in
determining that the bones have been burnt. However, it is difficult to differentiate
in such cases as to whether the bones are that of an animal or a human being.

Classification, forms, medico-legal aspects of injuries, burns (ballistics,

explosives, lightning, electricity)

Injuries may be classified on the basis of its causes as follows1. Mechanical injuries- These are injuries caused by external forces or causes. They
may either be in the form of blunt force trauma, wherein a blunt object is used or
sharp force trauma wherein a sharp object is used. It may also include firearm
2. Thermal injuries- These are injuries caused due to the application of heat or cold.
3. Chemical injuries- These are caused by chemicals which may have local, general
or systemic application and effects.
4. Miscellaneous- These include injuries caused due to electrocution, radiation,
lightening, etc.
Mechanical Injuries1. Mechanical injuries are caused due to some sort of external force.
2. They may be classified as follows(a) Abrasions
(b) Bruises or contusions
(c) Incised wounds
(d) Stab wounds
(e) Chop wounds
(f) Lacerations

3. Abrasions are caused by friction or sliding and have an effect on the superficial
layer of the skin.
4. They are further classified as follows(a) Scratch or linear abrasion- It is caused by a sharp or pointed object.
(b) Slide or graze abrasion- It is when the broader surface of the skin is affected.
(c) Pressure abrasion- This is when a sinking abrasion is caused due to hanging or
(d) Patterned abrasion- This is caused when anything causing a pattern while
injuring a person.
5. Bruises or contusions are caused due to blunt force trauma. Herein, there is injury
to the blood capillaries due to which the blood is released inside the body.
6. An incised wound is caused due to a sharp edged weapon. The length of the
wound on the skin is more than its depth.
7. It may either be caused due to a light sharp cutting weapon such as a knife,
scissors, etc. or a heavy sharp cutting weapon such as a sword.
8. An incised wound is broader than the edge of the weapon which causes it. This is
because of the retraction of the divided tissues.
9. The gaping is greater when deep wounds are caused and muscle fibres are cut
obliquely and transversely.
10. Its edges are smooth, clean cut and well-defined.
11. While examining an incised wound, it becomes important to check its direction.
12. An incised wound is deeper and then gradually becomes shallower and tails off
towards the end. The tailing off shows the direction in which the weapon was
drawn off.
13. It may cause haemorrhage. Further, as these wounds are clean cut, they lead to
greater bleeding of blood vessels and thus may even cause death, particularly
when a main artery gets cut.
14. Stab wounds or punctured wounds are commonly known as stab and are termed
as penetrating wounds.
15. They pass through the tissues and enter a cavity of the body such as the thorax or
16. They are caused by a long, piercing or stabbing instrument such as a pin, a needle,
ice picks, broken glass, iron rod, sword, etc.
17. The depth of the wound is greater than its length on the skin.
18. These may be classified as penetrating wounds and perforating wounds.
19. Penetrating wounds are caused when the weapon pierces the body and enters a
body cavity such as the abdomen or the thorax.
20. A perforating wound is one which is caused when the weapon enters the body
cavity from one side and comes out from the other side of the body.
21. Chop wounds are caused by a blow from the sharp cutting edge of a weapon such
as an axe. It affects the bones of the body as well.
22. The dimensions of the wound correspond to the cross section of the blade that is

23. It has sharp margins and there is slight bruising or abrasions. There is a marked
destruction of underlying tissues.
24. Lacerations involve blunt force trauma. It occurs on the tissue.
25. It is when the skin is compressed between two solid objects leading to tearing or
cutting of the skin. There are certain flaps with bruises around these wounds
which do not have even edges.
26. It may be classified as follows(a) Cut lacerations
(b) Avulsions
(c) Split lacerations
(d) Stretch lacerations
(e) Tears
27. Cut lacerations are caused by a heavy or moderately heavy not so sharp object. It
generally happens in case of a sharp object which becomes blunt over a period of
28. The underlying tissues are penetrated and it affects the underlying bones as well.
29. Avulsion generally takes place where there is grinding compression of the tissues
to such an extent that the skin is separated from the underlying structures and the
muscles get crushed.
30. It is caused due to a more or less horizontal crushing impact as happens in case of
a bus or lorry running over.
31. Split lacerations are usually found in parts overlaying the bones which do not
have many tissues in between such as the scalp, the face and the lower legs.
32. It is caused due to crushing between two hard objects due to which the skin splits
and sometimes even incised wounds are seen.
33. When they are examined carefully with a hand lens, the irregular, uneven and
ragged margins may be seen.
34. Stretch laceration is generally caused by a blunt tangential impact when the skin
gets stretched too much and it finally splits. Thereafter, it produces a flap of skin.
An example of the same may be injuries caused by the running over of a motor
35. A tear is produced by the impact of irregular or hard objects such as a door knob
or a broken glass. It is deeper at the starting point than at the end.
Thermal Injuries-Burns and scalds
1. Burns are injuries which are caused due to the application of dry heat through a
flame, radiation, a hot solid substance or a hot surface, etc.
2. Scalds on the other hand are injuries caused due to the application of moist heat.
3. Sometimes injuries caused due to application of a corrosive substance to the
surface of the body as in the case of chemicals may also be characterised as burns
for medico legal purposes.
4. Burns may also be caused due to powerful electric discharges.
5. Burns may be classified into the following on the basis of the source of heat-

(a) Contact burns- These are caused due to physical contact with a hot object or
(b) Radiant heat burns- These are caused due to exposure of the body to radiant
heat which is a form of electromagnetic wave. There is no direct contact of the
body with the source of heat.
(c) Flame burns- These are caused due to the action of flames. It leads to charring
and scorching of the skin.
(d) Chemical burns- These are caused due to the action of chemical substances.
(e) Microwave burns- These are caused due to microwave radiation.
6. Burns have also been classified into 6 degree by Dupuytren depending on their
severity. However, they were later modified by Wilson who further divided these
into 3 groups.
7. The epidermal burns consist of the first degree and second degree burns.
8. The first degree burns are characterised by erythema or simple redness and
oedema or swelling.
9. The oedema involves superficial inflammation which disappears without scars.
10. The second degree burns are characterised by acute inflammation and blisters.
11. The skin is blackened and the hair is singed.
12. However, it heals without leaving any scars.
13. Thereafter, there are dermo-epidermal burns comprising of third degree and fourth
degree burns.
14. In third degree burns, there is destruction of the cuticle and the actual skin.
15. As the nerve endings get affected, it is very painful.
16. It leaves a scar after healing which shows no contraction.
17. Fourth degree burns result in destruction of the skin, leaving an ulcerated surface
on it.
18. The injury heals slowly and leaves behind a scar of dense fibrous tissue which
shows contraction. The affected area is deformed.
19. There is no pain as the nerve endings are destroyed.
20. Deep burns comprise fifth degree and sixth degree burns.
21. Fifth degree burns involve deep fascia and muscles. It results in scarring and
22. In sixth degree burns, whole limbs including bones are burnt.
23. Burns may also be classified as minor, moderate and critical burns.
24. Minor burns involve first degree burns, secondary burns where less than 15% of
the body surface is affected and third degree burns involving less than 2% body
25. Moderate burns involve secondary burns where 15%-30% of the body surface is
affected and third degree burns involving less than 10% body surface, except the
face, hands, feet and genitalia.
26. Critical burns involve secondary burns where more than 30% of the surface of the
body is affected and third degree burns where more than 10% of the body surface
is affected. It affects the face, hands, feet and genitalia as well.
27. For medico-legal and clinical purposes, burns have further been characterised as
superficial and deep burns.

28. Superficial burns are wherein the skin gets burnt and the nerves are intact. The
pain remains intact as well.
29. Deep burns are where the full thickness of the skin as well as underlying
structures are burnt.
30. The factors which influence the severity of burns are the temperature of the
source, the mode of transmission of heat and the duration for which the body is in
contact with the source.
31. The temperature of the source and the duration of contact are most important in
determining the severity of the burns.
32. Burns are assessed primarily on the extent and depth of tissue damage.
33. For this very purpose, the rule of nine is taken into consideration, wherein a
specific percentage is assigned to every body part.
34. 9% each is assigned to the head and neck, the front of the chest, the back of the
chest, the front of the abdomen, the back of the abdomen, the right upper limb, the
left upper limb, the front of the right lower limb, the back of the right lower limb,
the front of the left lower limb and the back of the left lower limb.
35. The genitals are assigned 1%.
36. Thus, the total comes up to 100%. The severity of the burn shall be assessed by
calculating the area of the body which is burnt by way of its percentage.
37. This rule is strictly not applicable to infants and children.
38. In children aged one year, the head and neck are assigned 18% and in children
aged 5 years, they are assigned 13%.
Effects of burns and scalds1. The first effect of burns is that it causes immense pain. This may even lead to
2. As there is loss of skin surface, there is loss of body fluids, leading to
3. The body fluids are lost both externally and internally in the body cavities due to
damage to the blood capillaries.
4. The fluid electrolyte balance in the body is disturbed and this leads to loss in the
volume of blood circulation.
5. This is because the blood becomes more concentrated and thus its circulation
particularly through vital organs is reduced and sluggish.
6. Burns also destroy the barrier of the skin and thus the body may be infected by
7. Extensive burns may even lead to suppression of the immune system.
8. The entry of micro organisms not only hampers recovery but also affects the
9. A person may be exposed to such infection by his own environment or by that of
the hospital.
10. Scalds, as seen earlier are caused due to the action of moist heat such as those
caused by hot water or hot chemical agents or hot molten metals at high
11. There is erythema or blisters on the skin.

12. A sharp demarcating line delineates the extent of area of contact.
Causes of death in burns1. In case of burns, death may be caused due to various factors depending on the
extent and severity of burns, the presence of any infection, quality of asepsis
management, etc.
2. Some of the various causes of death due to burns are as follows(a) Shock
(b) Suffocation
(c) Gaseous poisoning
(d) Accidents
(e) Systemic causes
3. Immense pain due to burns may lead to neurogenic shock, resulting in death.
4. Sometimes, there may even be toxic shock due to release of toxins by virtue of
cellular destruction or infection.
5. A person may even die of suffocation wherein because of burns harmful gases
such as Carbon monoxide and smoke may be produced. These are products of
combustion and lead to anoxia (lack of supply of oxygen).
6. There may even be gaseous poisoning when a synthetic material is either
completely or partially burnt.
7. Such gases include nitrogen, ammonia, Hydrogen cyanide, Hydrogen sulphide
and certain oxides of sulphur.
8. Accidents may even be caused when a person is trying to escape a burning place.
9. Further, there may also be systemic causes (causes at a later stage) leading to the
death of a person even though he may have escaped death due to burns initially.
10. In such cases, persons may develop renal failure, sepsis, biochemical
disturbances, stress ulcers in the stomach and intestine, gangrene, tetanus,
septicaemia, etc.
11. Sometimes even electrolyte disturbances in the body may lead to death due to
cardiac arrest.
Post mortem findings in case of death due to burns1. There are changes in the general appearances of the body.
2. As the burnt body presents unique features, it is difficult to estimate the post
mortem interval.
3. Rigor mortis (stiffness caused after death) is difficult to appreciate due to
stiffening of the body due to burns.
4. Post mortem lividity (discolouration of skin) is also difficult to detect due to
blackening or charring of the skin.
5. Further, it is difficult to detect injuries on the body such as abrasions, contusions,
6. As the pattern of post mortem changes is different in case of burns, the body of
the deceased must be examined very carefully and thoroughly.

7. Where the body is exposed to heat for a considerable amount of time, it assumes a
particular position which is also known as fugilistic attitude.
8. This is because the body develops the attitude of a boxer or fugilist.
9. The legs are flexed at the hip and the knee and the arms are flexed at the elbow
and the wrist.
10. It may occur in anti mortem burns or post mortem burns where decomposition has
not taken place and thus the muscle fibres havent been loosened.
11. It occurs because the proteins in muscles coagulate due to the action of heat
causing rigidity of muscles and shortening of the muscle fibres.
Note: Ballistics have also been discussed under the topic relating to fire arms

Medico-legal aspects of death, post-mortem examination

1. Death means the irreversible cessation of life. It has been categorised as somatic
and molecular death.
2. Somatic death is where there is disappearance of all kinds of sensibility and
movement and all the vital organs of the body (heart, brain and lungs primarily)
stop functioning.
3. There are essentially 3 vital organs of the body, the brain, the heart and the lungs.
When the brain stops working, the person slips into a state of coma. When the
heart stops functioning, it is called syncope and when the lungs stop functioning,
it is called asphyxia.
4. Anoxia is when there is lack of supply of oxygen to the body.
5. Jordan classified death due to anoxia into the following(a) Defective oxygenation of blood in the lungs- which may be caused due to
obstruction to passage of air in the air tract, external pressure on the chest or
abdominal walls, primary cessation of respiratory movements, etc.
(b) Reduced oxygen carrying capacity of the blood
(c) Reduction in the oxidative processes of tissues
(d) Reduction in supply of oxygenated blood to tissues
6. Molecular death on the other hand refers to the death of various tissues and cells
in the body. It happens about 3-4 hours after somatic death, depending on the
level of oxygen required by each tissue to survive.
7. These days however due to various techniques, the vital organs of a person may
be kept alive. But, a medical dilemma occurs where the cells of the brain stem die
and the organs are still alive. This is called brain stem death and is important from
the perspective of transplantation of organs. This has now been legalised by the
Transplantation of Organs Act, 1994.
8. The brain stem is also very sensitive to anoxia or the oxygen supply to the body.
9. Under S.46 of the IPC, death is stated as being death of a human being, unless the
contrary is proved.
10. S.2 (b) of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 defines death as the
permanent disappearance of all evidence of life, after live birth has taken place.

11. Now, due to this Act coming into force, it is necessary for all births and deaths to
be registered after April 1, 1969.
12. Hence, once a person dies, a death certificate must be issued by the medical
practitioner who last examined him. In such certificate, he must state the cause of
death as well.
13. Generally, internationally accepted standards are followed while preparing such
certificate and stating the cause of death. This has been given by the WHO.
14. The medical practitioner must state the conditions or disease due to which death
has been caused and also other conditions contributing to the death of a person
which may not be related to the deceased or the conditions causing death.
15. The Transplantation of Human Organs Bill was passed by the Parliament in June,
1994 and the President gave his assent to it on July 8, 1994. It finally came into
effect on February 04, 1995 by way of a gazette notification.
16. This Act regulates the removal, storage and transplantation of human organs and
prevents commercial dealings as regards such organs.
17. Transplantation refers to the grafting of organs from a live or dead person to
another live person for therapeutic purposes.
18. No transplantation of organs is allowed in case of brain stem death except where
it is approved by a body of medical experts.
19. The Act has the following features(a) It recognises cadaver transplantation
(b) It recognises brain stem death
(c) It prevents donation by unrelated live donor
(d) It allows live donors when they are related to the patient as in the case of
immediate family member
(e) It allows unrelated live donor when the same is done due to love and affection
or for any other reasons and is approved by the authorisation committee
(f) It allows the preservation of human organs for the purpose of transplantation
(g) It regulates hospitals where organs are stored and transplantation is carried out
by constituting the appropriate authority
(h) It punishes contravention of its provisions
20. The changes in the body after death may be classified as follows(a) Immediate Changesi. Cooling of body
ii. Changes in eyes
iii. Changes in the skin
(b) Early changesi. Cadaveric lividity
ii. Primary relaxation and Cadaveric Spasm in certain cases
iii. Rigor Mortis
iv. Secondary Relaxation
(c) Late changes- decomposition by way of putrefaction or adipocere or


21. As regards the immediate changes in the body, there is cooling down of the body
to a temperature which is the same as the atmospheric temperature.
22. This happens because heat is produced due to body metabolism during a persons
life. When a person dies, this metabolism ceases. Hence, due to conduction,
convection and radiation, the body acquires the temperature of the surrounding
23. Generally, the body temperature stays static during the first one or two hours after
death. Thereafter, it falls by 1.5 degrees every hour. It finally reaches the
temperature of the environment within 20-30 hours.
24. There are also changes in the eye, wherein the eye loses its lustre. The corneal
reflex is lost and the cornea becomes opaque. There is pithing of the cornea on
pressure. (couldnt understand handwriting in notes)
25. There are changes in the skin as blood flows out of the small blood vessels. Thus,
the skin has a pale or ashy-white colour. It also loses its elasticity. Thus, when
incised wounds are made on the skin after death, the wounds will not gap (??form gaps in the skin?)
26. Cadaveric lividity which is also known as post mortem lividity or hypostasis or
suggilation is a dark purple discolouration of skin which occurs after death. This
is primarily because due to gravitational force and stoppage of circulation of
blood, all the blood gets pooled in the veins and capillary vents of the dependant
parts of the body.
27. It happens within 3-6 hours of death, immediately after stoppage of circulation. It
may even be seen in persons dying of circulatory failure. It may however be
pronounced very shortly after death as well.
28. One of the main reasons for the pooling of the blood near the dependant body
parts is because the blood does not coagulate and thus due to gravitational force,
goes to such parts.
29. In most corpses, within 30-60 minutes after death, all the blood present in the
body becomes incoagulable whether the death is due to natural or unnatural
30. Sometimes when the body is in contact with the floor, the convex parts of the
body may even get flattened.
31. Its medico-legal significance lies in its distribution and colour. However, lividity
being variable is not a good indicator of the time of death.
32. Thereafter, there is primary relaxation of the body or in certain cases; there may
even be a Cadaveric spasm.
33. Cadaveric spasm or instantaneous rigor occurs in certain cases of violent deaths,
showing circumstances involving intense emotion.
34. It is the stiffening of the muscles of the body at the moment of death till the time
of rigor mortis.
35. It is important from a medico-legal perspective as it records the last act of life.
36. It generally occurs in groups of muscles such as the muscles of the forearm, etc.
However, a conclusion about Cadaveric spasm can be drawn only where a lot of
force is required to break the grip of a person.

37. It is seen in certain suicidal deaths due to firearms, incised wounds, stab wounds,
etc. where the gripping of the weapon could indicate self-infliction of harm.
38. Such positions/grip cannot be replicated after death by placing a weapon in a
persons hands.
39. Even in cases of drowning, where a person is seen clutching on to grasses and
weeds, Cadaveric spasm is seen. Here, this would go on to show that the person
was alive while entering the water.
40. Similarly, in case of death on mountainous regions, a person may be seen
clutching on to branches, shrubs, etc.
41. Even in cases of homicide, a person may hold on to the clothing of the assailant
(fibres in hands) or his hair.
42. Rigor mortis which is also known as cadaveric rigidity or death stiffening takes
place when the muscles of the body lose their ability to expand and contract.
43. The muscles in a human body consist of several filaments which contain two
proteins known as actin and myosin. During the lifetime of a person, there is
production of an enzyme known as Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP), which brings
about a chemical reaction, by way of which, the muscles of the body expand and
44. When a person dies, as such ATP is not re-synthesised and there is a fall in its
concentration, the actin and myosin proteins fuse together forming a very rigid
compound known as actomyosin. This leads to stiffening of the muscles after
45. When a person has indulged in strenuous physical activity immediately before his
death, rigor will develop sooner in the muscles used for such activity.
46. Rigor first appears in the muscles of the face and the jaw and then spreads to the
trunk and the extremities of the body. It disappears in the same manner, starting
first with the face and the jaw and then the trunk and the extremities.
47. At room temperature, it first appears within 2-4 hours after death and is complete
within 12-18 hours of death. It starts disappearing within 24-36 hours after death
and has completely disappeared within 48 hours after death.
48. Its medico-legal significance is that it helps in determination of the time of death.
49. Thereafter, there is secondary relaxation of the body which is followed by
50. Decomposition may either be by way of putrefaction or adipocere or
mummification, depending on the conditions of the atmosphere.
51. Putrefaction occurs in warm and moist climates.
52. It may occur due to the action of either enzymes or bacteria on the soft tissues of
the body.
53. When putrefaction occurs due to action of enzymes, it is called autolysis and
when it occurs due to the action of bacteria, it is known as bacterial
54. In case of bacterial decomposition, it occurs primarily due to the bacteria present
in the bowel. It is caused predominantly due to the action of bacteria called
clostridium welchii. Any bacterial infection prior to death will hasten the process
of decomposition.

55. The first sign of putrefaction is a greenish discolouration of the walls of the
56. It generally progresses internally, starting with the stomach and intestine and
dissolves the body tissues leading to formation of gases, changes in colour and
liquification. There is also emanation of a foul smell.
57. Due to formation of gases and liquids in the epidermal layers of the skin, blisters
are formed on the skin and there is slippage of the skin.
58. There is distortion of the original facial features of the deceased and thus
identification by witnesses becomes difficult.
59. Another type of decomposition is adipocere, also known as saponification.
60. It requires moisture to take place and warm, moist and anaerobic conditions are
most conducive for it.
61. It occurs due to hydrolysis of fats or fatty tissues in the body which leads to the
formation of fatty acids. As the substance formed is acidic, it inhibits bacteria and
thus, there is no putrefaction.
62. It leads to the formation of a yellowish-white, greasy, wax-like substance with a
sweatish, rancid odour.
63. This substance floats on water and dissolves in hot alcohol and ether. When
heated, it melts and burns with a yellow flame.
64. Sometimes even the water content in the body is sufficient to bring about
adipocere in corpses buried in well-sealed coffins.
65. It ordinarily remains unchanged for years to come.
66. Mummification generally occurs in very hot and dry climates.
67. It is a characteristic desiccation of the body where the soft parts of the body
shrivel up while the body retains its general appearance and features.
68. The skin is dry and leathery and has a rusty brown colour.
69. The skeletonised features of the face are characteristic and help in identification
of the deceased as well as the cause of death.
70. The internal organs either completely disappear or blend forming a mass of dry,
dark brown substance. It is difficult to distinguish the organs.
71. It generally occurs in bodies buried in shallow graves in the hot and dry soils of
Rajputana, Sind and Baluchistan, where due to the hot winds in the summer, there
is rapid evaporation of body fluids.
72. It has been observed that in cases of death due to arsenic, chronic and antimony
poisoning, there is generally mummification of the dead body.
73. It may even be artificially induced by the process of embalming the body as was
done by ancient Egyptians.
74. Embalming these days is practised in medical colleges so as to preserve the body
for dissections. It is generally carried out by injecting substances such as
Potassium carbonate, Lead sulphide, formaline and spirit into the dead body.
75. Sometimes, it may even be done where bodies are being carried from one country
to another.

1. The interference into the supply of oxygen to the tissues of lung leads to the
situation called asphyxia. Deaths from asphyxia include strangulation,
suffocation, hanging and drowning.
2. Asphyxia is of 5 types:
Mechanical: airways are blocked in unnatural fashion.
Pathological: transfer of oxygen to lungs prevented by upper air passage
or lung disease.
Toxic: poisonous substances prevent uptake of oxygen.
Environmental: insufficiency of oxygen in air.
Iatrogenic: associated with anaesthesia.
1. Where body is suspended by the neck and the body weight acts as constricting
force completely (complete hanging) or partly (partial hanging).
2. Hanging is when body is completely suspended by ligature (runs from midline
above thyroid cartilage) whose knot is located in occipital region or at the back of
the leg.
3. Mechanism of constricting of neck in hanging:
The effect of the constricting force causes obstruction of veins, arteries and the
airway. There might be injury to the vagus nerve, the spinal cord and cervical
spine and base of the skull.
4. Ligature mark:
The mark is always present except when ligature was wide and soft and body
remained suspended for a short time. The mark is a pressure abrasion and depends
on manner of ligature application to the neck. The neck (situated on the larynx) is
stretched and elongated while head is inclined to the opposite side to the knot of
the ligature.
The face is pale and placid, tongue is drawn in or caught between the teeth or
protruded and bitten. A sure sign of hanging is saliva found dripping as secretion
of saliva does not happen after death.
1. It is a violent form of death from constricting of the neck by means of ligature or
other means without suspending the body. Strangulation is of 2 types:
Manual: constriction is produced by pressure of palms and fingers.
Mugging: constriction produced by pressure of throat, foot, knee or some
other hard substance.
2. Ligature mark:
It is defined and slightly depressed mark situated lower down in the neck. More
than one firm knot of ligature is certain of homicide. When fingers are used,
marks of pressure by the thumb (mostly found higher and thicker) and fingertips
are found on the windpipe.
When fingertips are deeply pressed into soft tissue of the neck then linear or
cresentic marks are produced. Bruises and abrasions are found on the front and

back of the neck when two hands are used. Abrasions on other parts of body in
case of struggle.
A bruise is found corresponding to the windpipe on the neck and one the nape of
the neck in case a stick or foot was used.
Mostly the eyes are open, prominent and dilated. Frothy blood escapes from the
mouth and nostrils, sometimes pure blood flows form mouth, nose and ears in
cases of violence. The tongue is swollen bruised and protruding and dark.

Ligature mark

Hyoid bone

Mostly suicidal
Dripping out of the mouth
down to the chin and chest
Stretched and elongated in
fresh bodies
Bleeding from the nose,
mouth and ears is very rare
Ligature mark is oblique, non
continuous and placed high
up in the neck between chin
and larynx. The base of the
grove or furrow being hard
and yellow.
Hyoid bone fracture may
Fracture is less common

Mostly homicide
No dripping of saliva
No such stretching or
Bleeding from nose, mouth
and ears may be found
Horizontal or transverse
continuously aroung the neck
low below the thyroid. The
base of the grove or furrow
being soft and reddish.
Such fracture is uncommon
Fracture is more common

1. It is exclusion of the entry of air into lungs or replacement of inspired air with non
respirable or toxic gas, by way other than compression of the neck.
2. Types of suffocation:
Smothering or closure of mouth and nostrils:
When airflow is obstructed or breathing impeded, it is usually affected by
pressure of soft objects such as hands or a pillow over the mouth.
Choking or obstruction of the air passages from within:
Mostly accidental and maybe due to presence of foreign bodies like food
Pressure on the chest (traumatic or crushed asphyxia):
Where there is a mechanical fixation of the chest sufficient to cause death.
This happens when chest gets violently trampled upon in a crowd, in a
railway motor car or other vehicular accidents and when earth, sand or
debris falls.
Inhalation of irrespirable gases:

Inhalation of gases such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen
sulphide or smoke from burning of house can produce suffocation.
Where gag in the form of handkerchief or clothes are tied around the face
or inserted in the mouth gradually reducing air due to accumulation of
3. Signs of suffocation:
In cases of alleged suffocation by violence much depends on the presence or
absence of signs indicating the employment of violence such as would produce
suffocation. If these are absent then no positive opinion as to cause of death may
be given from the post mortem examination as then death may be due to disease
or poisoning.
1. This is due to submersion of the mouth and nostrils under water or other fluid so
that access of air to the lungs is cut off and the fluid or water is drawn into the air
2. Classification of drowning:
Wet or primary drowning in which water is inhaled or enters into the lung
followed by a few minutes of severe chest pain.
Dry drowning where death results from immediate sustained laryngeal
spasm following the entry of water into larynx. Mucus plug often found in
Secondary drowning or post immersion syndrome where delayed death
may occur after an episode of immersion. In such cases there might be
aspiration of foreign particles, stomach contents, electrolyte disturbance,
lung disease, brain damage or heart failure.
Immersion syndrome- death might occur as a result of vagal inhibition due
to sudden immersion in cold water. Neurogeneric shock may also result
from stimulation of nerve endings over the skin in ear and nose. This may
also result in cases where there is accidental fall into water or where
inexperienced divers strike the water surface with their chest and abdomen
Drowning may also be classified on the basis of the water body the person
drowns in as fresh water and sea water drowning. Fresh water drowning is
where due to osmosis water filled into the lungs is rapidly absorbed into
the blood stream. In sea water drowning, due to high levels of salinity in
the water, body fluids are lost through the lungs.
Stages of drowning1. Where an individual in his complete senses falls into the water, he sinks to a depth
proportionate to the momentum obtained by him during the fall.
2. However, as the chest is filled with air which is the same volume as that of the
water replaced by the body but is lighter than the same volume of water, the body
rises to the surface. This is due to the effect of buoyancy.

3. When the person reaches the surface, violent respiratory efforts are made due to
which some water is inhaled due to which there is spasmodic cough and expulsion
of air from the body.
4. As the specific gravity of the body increases, the body again sinks into the water.
5. Due to irregular movement of the limbs, the body rises again but it sinks again
due to the same process as explained earlier.
6. This happens several times till the body sinks to the bottom and consciousness is
7. The lungs and air passages get filled with water and there are spasms in groups of
8. Due to such spasm, the person may clench weeds, mud, etc. that may come in his
9. Where death occurs in the presence of catching such weed, etc. the material
retained shall be clenched firmly by the deceased. This is a sign of anti mortem
10. After death, the body may remain still at one place till gases of decomposition get
collected in a sufficient quantity thereby making the body flow.
11. Rigor mortis may take place before the body reaches the surface.
12. A proof of drowning is diatoms found in organs such as the brain, liver or bone
marrow from the humerous or the femur.
13. Diatoms are microscopic algae with a silicaceous exo-skeleton found in water
14. However, the presence of diatoms is generally used as corroborative evidence.
15. They may even be used to identify the water body in which a person has drowned.
Post Mortem Examination1. Post mortem is otherwise known as autopsy or necropsy. Autopsy means
examination of tissues removed from dead body whereas biopsy means
examination of tissues removed from a living body.
2. Types of autopsies:
(a) Pathological autopsy:
It is usually done to conclude the cause of death in a case due to some
pathological reason. It is not mandatory in India without the written
consent from the next of kin.
(b) Medico-legal autopsy:
It is done in cases of death which are sudden, suspicious and unnatural. It
is mandatory and requires no consent.
(c) Anatomical autopsy:
It is done by medical students on embalmed or preserved bodies to
enhance their medical knowledge.
3. Post Mortem examination or autopsy in a medico legal case is an important duty
and responsibility of a medical officer. Without a detailed post mortem

examination, no investigation of death can be considered complete and
4. The objects of medico-legal autopsy include:
(a) To determine the identity of a person;
(b) To determine the cause of death, whether natural or unnatural and if
unnatural whether suicide, homicide or accident. If homicide, whether any
trace of evidence.
5. Extent of medico-legal autopsy:
A complete autopsy involves examination of all three body cavities (cranial,
abdominal and thorax). However, the law has not specified the minimum
permissible or acceptable extent of an autopsy as long as the objectives of the
examination are made. The following suggestions have been made:
(a) The examination might not be continued further where the cause of death
can be established by opening any single body cavity.
(b) Where from the known facts of the case, it is clear that there exists no
reason to suspect foul play then a mere external examination may be all
The examiner should be satisfied that there is no shadow of doubt about
the facts of the case as communicated to him and then should inform the
police that he is satisfied that there is no foul play and ask authorities to
hand over the body to the relatives.
(c) When the body is found in highly decomposed state in water that it is
obvious nothing will be learnt from dissection then there is no point of an
internal examination.
If there is a fatal wound bleeding to one of the cavities, it should be
opened first so that examiner has opportunity to inspect the contents
before the blood can drain away.
The spinal cord need not be examined except in cases where there is suspicious
injury to the vertebral column or alleged cause of death is due to spinal poison
(naxnomica) or some other disease like tetulus. In these cases, it should be
examined last of all.
In gunshot injuries and suspected fractures of thyroid, hyoid bone, the x-ray
examination of concerned area is preferred before autopsy is started. The autopsy
agent should have full report of case and history of the person.
6. Internal examination:
(a) Head:
An internal examination begins with the dissection of the head when:
i. Injuries on the head;
ii. When the history or external appearance point to some condition
indicating the brain as the cause of death;

Otherwise carried out after the survey of the abdominal organs. A
transverse incision across the vertex should be made from ear to ear over
the vertex and reflect the scalp. One flap forward and one backwards
should be made.
The inner surface of the scalp should be examined for extra vacation of
blood and the skull bones should be examined for evidence of any
(b) Thorax and abdomen:
Before examination of the thorax, both cavities (thorax and abdomen)
should be opened by a longitudinal incision above the middle of the
sternum to the pubic bone, keeping wide away from any wounds existing
in the line.
The abdominal cavity should be examined first (ribs and sternum) for any
fractures then the chest cavity (thorax) should be opened by dividing the
ribs and their cartilages.
The heart and lungs should be removed from the cavity and examined for
any evidence of disease. In case of poisoning, examination of stomach and
intestines is carried out and preservation of viscera and other articles is
In fatal cases of suspected poisoning the material should be preserved for
chemical analysis in clean wide mouth white glass bottles fitted with glass
toppers and 1 litre capacity. Material that should ordinarily be preserved
Stomach, its contents and any suspicious substance found inside
the stomach should be preserved in a separate phial;
Small intestine and full contents;
Liver, spleen, kidney and brain;
Blood, vomit and in case of heavy metal poisoning nails and scalp
(c) Uterus and vagina:
In suspected use of abort facial drugs, bits of skin with some cutanius
tissues in suspected cases of injected poisoning and spinal cord in case of
strictining poisoning.
7. The objects of post mortem examination are:
(a) To determine whether the death was due to natural or unnatural cause;
(b) In cases of unnatural death to collect information provided by the body
that may be useful in fixing responsibility for the death.
8. Cause of death:
After completion of post mortem examination the medical officer should form an
opinion as to the cause of and manner of death based on appearances observed by
him and should immediately give in the vernacular the abstract of the opinion to

the police officer accompanying the body for communicating to investigating
If along with the post mortem examination the report is based on police statement
then the same should be mentioned. The report should be concise, clear and as
complete as possible and forwarded to the superintendent of police at the earliest.
9. Negative autopsy: An autopsy is considered negative or obscure when all efforts
including cross and microscopic studies and toxicology analysis fail to reveal a
cause of death.
Forensic Dentistry:
1. Also known as forensic odontology and is the area of dentistry concerned with the
proper handling, examination and evaluation of dental evidence, which will be
then presented in the interest of justice.
2. The evidence that may be derived from the teeth is(a) Age in children;
(b) Identification of person to whom the teeth belong.


Hair and Body Fluids

Hair1. Hair is very important from a forensic point of view. This is because in violent
crimes, hairs may get detached from the scalp or other body parts and be
transferred from one person to another.
2. Hair is very resistant to decomposition.
3. It is found on the limbs of human beings and animals.
4. Characteristics of human hair important for the purpose of forensics are the
colour, structure and treatment.
5. Animal hair is characterised by the colour, medulla, shaft and the scales present.
6. The colour of the hair is examined on the basis of pigment, transparency, surface
and reflectivity.
7. For the purpose of examining the pigment, the cortex (explained in the points that
follow) should be examined at high magnification.
8. Hair consists of melanin, proteins (primarily keratin), cholesterol, uric acid,
vitamins and other organic materials.
9. They may also consist of lead, arsenic, iron and silicon.
10. In fact, lead and arsenic poisoning can be detected where the hair contains large
amounts of the same.
11. Each hair grows out of a specialised organ called a hair follicle. It grows upto a
certain extent and then falls off. It may or may not be replaced by new hair.
12. Hair consists of a bundle of fibrils each consisting of a protein called keratin.

13. Further, it also consists of certain granules present in its cortex and in the
medullary material of its medulla.
14. The outer structure of the hair consists of the bulb or the root end (the one
embedded in the hair follicle), the tip end (the one which is away from the follicle
and can be seen) and the shaft (that which connects both the ends).
15. The inner structure of the hair consists of the medulla (central part), the cortex
(middle part surrounding the medulla) and the cuticle (outer part).
16. The medulla begins more or less at the root of the hair. It may be continuous, as in
the case of animals or fragmented, as in the case of human beings.
17. It is the innermost core, consisting mostly of keratinised cells.
18. The cortex is a hollow cylinder consisting of fine fibres of protein and pigment
19. It is the larger, intermediate layer consisting of elongated, non-nucleated cells.
20. The cuticle in the human hair consists of thin scales which are usually laid one on
top of the other. In case of animals, these scales are protruding. While, they are
more or less flattened and serrated in the case of human beings.
21. The cuticle is non-pigmented and circular.
22. Hairs may be found on combs, clothes, brushes, beds, carpets, furniture, etc.
23. In case of crimes involving struggle, some hair of the assailant may be found in
the hands or nails of the victim.
24. In case of rape and other sexual crimes, pubic hair alongwith semen may be found
on the genitals of the victim and the assailant.
25. Hair alongwith blood may also be found on the weapon used.
26. In case of hit and run cases, hair of the victim may be found on the broken glass
or other parts of the vehicle.
27. Hair found in different places around the crime scene must not be mixed.
28. Hair and other fibres found may be picked up by a vacuum cleaner and placed on
paper or in a cellophane envelope. It must be kept free from moisture and other
foreign material.
29. It may be collected even before the witness.
30. In order to compare with the questioned hair, sample hair must be collected from
the scalp, beard, pubic region and other body parts of the person as is suspected to
have been the source of the questioned hair.
31. Hairs collected from different body parts must be kept separately and labelled
32. Analysis of hair is possible only by way of DNA profiling where the roots are
available or by mitochondrial protein analysis. Else, it is difficult to say that a
particular strand(s) of hair belongs to a particular person.
33. The hair may be examined visually and microscopically.
34. First, all physical factors such as density, refractive index, etc. must be taken into
35. The Neutron Activation Analysis (explained in the chapter on poisons) may be
used to detect the presence of any metals in the hair.
36. The female body consists of an inactive X chromosome known as the Barr body.
This may be used to find out the gender of the individual whose hair it is.

37. Cut tips which have been freshly cut, frayed, split, etc. may be significant. The
angle in such cases is very important.
38. Further, the shape of the root may be examined to show how the hair was
removed. Any abnormalities found may be of great importance.
Blood1. Blood is a red coloured liquid which flows through the body. It is technically a
2. It consists of a fluid part known as the blood plasma which consists of proteins
and enzymes.
3. It also consists of a cellular part which consists of the red blood cells or
erythrocytes (RBCs), white blood cells or leucocytes (WBCs) and blood platelets
or thrombocytes. The blood cells are all produced in the bone marrow.
4. The cellular structures are suspended in the plasma.
5. The RBCs carry oxygen and lend the blood its red colour.
6. The WBCs are important for the purpose of the defence mechanism of the body.
7. The blood platelets help in coagulation of blood whenever there is an injury to a
blood vessel.
8. The various components of blood help in differentiating the blood of humans
from animals as well as that of human beings inter-se.
9. The distribution and amount of blood at the crime scene helps in identifying
whether the case is one of suicide or homicide and whether the person struggled
or moved after his injury.
10. As soon as there is an injury, fibrin starts accumulating around the injured area.
This is the beginning of the process of coagulation.
11. When blood at a crime scene is being analysed, the existence of fibrin must be
looked into to determine whether the blood found was from a living body or a
dead body.
12. Further, physical characteristics of the spots of blood may also be studied for this
13. Coagulation of blood is important so as to prevent any loss of blood and
14. When a blood vessel is injured, a protein called prothrombin in the plasma is
converted to thrombin in the presence of thromboplastin and calcium ions.
15. There is a soluble protein in the blood called fibrinogen.
16. The fibrinogen is converted to fibrin, which is an insoluble protein, in the
presence of thrombin.
17. Thereafter, the fibrin forms a mesh like structure around the place where the
blood vessel has been injured.
18. This structure contracts further so that the ruptured vessel is compressed and
bleeding is stopped.
19. The following must be analysed when blood stains are being examined(a) Identification of blood in the sample found
(b) Pattern of the blood stains

(c) Identification of the source or origin of the blood- whether human blood or
(d) Identification of the blood type or blood group
(e) Direction of the stains- This is very important when examined on the clothes
of the victim, floor, furniture, etc.
20. Blood samples may be taken from any person under S.3 of the Code of Criminal
Procedure and this shall not be violative of the fundamental right against selfincrimination under Article 20(3).
21. In an analysis of blood, it must be established beyond doubt that the stains
obtained are infact that of blood as well as the origin and the blood type.
22. The presence of blood may be preliminarily carried out by the catalytic test which
is based on the principle that when peroxidase mediated oxidation takes place in
the presence of haemoglobin (the component of the RBC which carries oxygen, it
is a protein that contains iron) as a catalyst, a colourless compound assumes a
particular colour.
23. When the benzedine test is carried out, benzedine and hydrogen peroxide are used
and the compound assumes a blue colour.
24. In case of the phenolphthalein test, the compound assumes a pink colour.
25. Thus, these tests are used to detect the presence or absence of blood.
26. The Immunological test or Precipitin test is used to differentiate between human
and animal blood by analysing the antigen-antibody precipitin reaction.
27. Once the blood is ascertained to be that of a human, the blood must be
individualised or blood grouping must be found.
Other body fluids1. Other body fluids which are of great importance to forensic science are as
follows(a) Saliva- This may be found on handkerchiefs, discarded cigarette butts, spit,
etc. The saliva contains an enzyme called ptyline and certain secretors and
other components which are specific to certain blood groups. Thus, the same
may be examined. DNA profiling may also be carried out.
(b) Urine- Ultra violet rays are generally used to locate urine as it contains urea.
DNA profiling is also possible.
(c) Sweat- It has more or less the same composition as that of saliva. Thus,
various secretors may be studied or DNA profiling may be carried out.
(d) Semen- Its detection is important in sexual offences
(e) Nasal secretions- It has 3 similar compositions as that of saliva. It contains
blood group factors and DNA profiling may be carried out.
(f) Tears and human milk- In this, blood group secretors are present and DNA
profiling may be carried out.
2. The semen may be found on the clothes of the victim or in the vagina or anus.
3. The semen may either be in a liquid form or may be found in the form of stains
and smears.

4. The semen consists of sperms which have a characteristic shape (consisting of a
nucleated head, a neck and a tail).
5. The presence of spermatozoa/sperms establishes the presence of semen.
6. Spermatozoa in fresh semen remain intact with head and tail. With the passage of
time, they start disintegrating. The tail separates from the head.
7. The spermatozoa remain motile only for a few hours after that in normal
8. In humid and warm climate, the spermatozoa get destroyed within a short period
of time.
9. However, they stay alive when they are frozen.
10. In a cool and dry climate, spermatozoa may be found intact even after several
11. The semen consists of several organic as well as inorganic substances such as
protein including enzymes, blood group factors, zinc, uric acid, fructose, etc.
12. The composition of semen varies from individual to individual.
13. The concentration of enzyme acid phosphatase in semen is much more than any
other body fluid. Thus, the detection of the same leads to the conclusion of
presence of the semen.
14. Seminal stains are tested by way of preliminary tests and the precipitin test.
15. The preliminary tests are used to detect semen stains usually found on clothes.
These are stiff and starchy in nature.
16. These tests include the phosphatase test and the ultraviolet light test.
17. However, both these tests must be confirmed by microscopic examination and
detection of spermatozoa.
18. The precipitin test is a confirmatory test.
19. The acid phosphatase enzyme present in the semen separates phosphate from
various compounds in the semen chemically.
20. In the phosphatase test, several reagents are added to a net filter paper which had
been previously pressed against the particular place bearing semen stains.
21. If the paper turns reddish-purple, the presence of semen is indicated.
22. This is an extremely sensitive test and can detect semen stains which are several
years old.
23. Another test used is the crystal test.
Chemical analysis of viscera1. The chemical analysis of various organs forming the viscera (primarily the organs
located in the abdomen and the pelvis), vomit and excreta is very important in
cases involving poisoning.
2. Vomit is examined where certain people have survived the poisoning.
3. In case of alcohol poisoning, on the post mortem examination, it is necessary that
the viscera be tested.
4. Where it is a confirmed case of poisoning, the doctor carrying out the examination
must preserve the viscera and send them for chemical analysis. This is important
to determine the probably amount of poison consumed or administered and the
history of such poison.

5. Even in cases where there is no unnatural death recorded, the viscera must be
preserved as this forms part of a scientific approach to a legal matter.
6. In cases of slow poisoning, the kidney must be preserved as the poison has to
travel through the kidney to reach the urine.
7. In cases of alcohol poisoning and arsenic or lead poisoning, the brain must be
8. Sometimes even hair, skin and nails may be preserved. This is also required in
arsenic poisoning.
9. This is because arsenic gets deposited on the capillaries (it is a capillary poison)
and thus is excreted through the skin.
10. Further, arsenic does not decompose easily and helps preserve dead bodies. As it
is easier to recover nails and hair from coffins, arsenic poisoning in such cases
may be detected.
11. Blood gives confirmation as regards poisoning by alcohol, carbon monoxide,
Potassium cyanide, hydrocynic acid, etc.
12. Blood is preserved in vials while other organs are preserved in tight, widemouthed, glass bottles.
13. The bottles must bear the name of the deceased, the organs preserved, serial
number and details of the dispatching officer.
14. The bottles are to be filled upto 2/3rd with the preservative liquids which are
generally rectified spirits or solutions of a common salt. 1/3rd space must be left at
the top. The viscera are to be submerged in such preservative liquid.
15. After being labelled, etc. the bottles shall be placed in boxes.
16. The chemical examiner must only give a report as to the examination and must
not analyse the cause of death.
17. The report is only a piece of evidence and must be forwarded to the doctor
conducting the autopsy.

DNA Profiling
1. DNA fingerprinting is known to be more advantageous than fingerprinting. This is
because even though no two individuals can have the same fingerprints,
sometimes it may become difficult to obtain fingerprints.
2. Thus, a genetic blueprint called DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) is used instead.
3. Every individual has a unique DNA, even though genes are transferred to a person
from his ancestors by way of DNA.
4. Almost every cell of our body has a nucleus which contains chromosomes. Each
chromosome contains a single DNA molecule.
5. Every somatic cell in the human body consists of 23 pairs of chromosomes (46 in
total) containing DNA and proteins.
6. Out of these, 22 pairs are autosomes and there is one pair of sex chromosomes.
7. In case of males, who do not have any chromosomal abnormality, the single pair
of sex chromosomes consists of one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. In
females, the sex chromosomes consist of two X chromosomes.
8. The DNA structure in every cell remains the same through the life span of a
person unless some mutation or rearrangement takes place.

9. The DNA in the cell may also be present in the mitochondria.
10. Mitochondrial DNA is more stable due to a small, circular, double stranded
structure. Further, it has extra layers of protective biological material.
11. It is present in high numbers in the cell.
12. Mitochondrial DNA can be used even where highly degraded biological material
is to be analysed. In fact, it can assist in analysis of bone tissues which are
thousands of years old.
13. Thus, there are two kinds of DNA, nuclear or genomic DNA which is found in the
nucleus and mitochondrial DNA (also called small MT DNA) which is found in
the mitochondria.
14. As per the Watson and Crick model, the DNA is a complex biological structure
consisting of two strands which are intertwined to form a double helix. The two
strands are called complimentary strands.
15. It contains nucleotide bases (Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine) and a
phosphate backbone.
16. Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine are represented as A, T, C and G
17. The strands are held together by way of weak hydrogen bonds between the
opposing bases.
18. Adenine always bonds with thymine and cytosine always bonds with guanine.
19. This ensures that once the nucleotide bases are obtained for one strand, the bases
for the other strand are automatically detected.
20. All humans have different DNA. This is however not the case with identical twins
or monozygotic twins as they originate from a single zygote.
21. Every child inherits a set of chromosomes from his father and another set from his
22. However, there are certain peculiarities in this respect. Only sons inherit Y
chromosomes from their father and pass it on to their offspring.
23. Further, MT DNA is inherited by all children from their mother. However, it can
be passed on only by daughters to their offspring.
24. Generally, DNA is taken from blood, semen, saliva, hair root, bone, skin, tooth,
any bodily tissue, secretion or fluid that contains a nucleus.
25. For extraction of DNA from blood, blood stains from clothes may be taken as
there is lesser chance of contamination.
26. Blood for such purpose may even be extracted from metal surfaces, floors,
furniture, etc.
27. Semen and vaginal swabs may be extracted for the purpose of DNA profiling
provided they are not contaminated.
28. The DNA extracted from bones has high molecular weight.
29. The sternum and the long bones are a rich source of bone marrow even in case of
mutilated bodies.
30. Bodies buried for several years can also yield DNA from bones.
31. In case of teeth, the pulp is the source of DNA.
32. Tissues especially those of the skin and hair roots are a good source of DNA.
33. The limitations of DNA profiling are as follows(a) Insufficient source of DNA

(b) Insufficient cellular material present in the source
(c) Degradation of DNA in the sample material
(d) A compromised state of DNA such that the test does not work
21. The advantages of DNA fingerprinting over conventional fingerprinting and other
methods are as follows(a) It is easier to obtain DNA unlike fingerprints which need not be found at all
times from the crime scene.
(b) DNA establishes a relationship between a child and his parents as half of the
genes are carried from the mother and half from the father.
(c) Where DNA profiling is carried out my using the PCR method, it is not an
issue even where the sample is degraded.
(d) Various organs carry the same DNA. Thus, DNA can be matched even when it
is from different sources in the body.
(e) No two individuals except identical twins can ever have the same DNA.
(f) The DNA profile of individuals does not change.
22. Examples of certain situations where DNA is of great importance are as follows(a) Identify potential suspects whose DNA may match those left at the crime
(b) Eliminate persons from the list of suspects
(c) Identify victims of a crime or catastrophe
(d) Help in deciding disputes as regards paternity and family relationships
(e) Identify endangered and protected species for aiding wildlife officers and
punishing poachers
(f) Identify bacteria and other organisms which pollute the air, soil, water, etc.
(g) For matching donors and recipients for a transplant.
(h) Determining history of seeds and livestock breed.
(i) Authenticate food items as being fit for human conditions.
Process of DNA profiling1. DNA profiling is done by two methods(a) Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (RFLP) - Requires large amounts
of DNA. DNA to be used must be undegraded and uncontaminated.
(b) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Small amounts of DNA are sufficient.
2. The RFLP method involves the following steps(a) The DNA is extracted.
(b) It is cut into pieces with the help of the restriction enzyme.
(c) DNA fragments are separated by electro forces in Agarose chain.
(d) The DNA band pattern in gel is transferred to a nylon membrane with the help
of the southern blotting technique.
(e) A radioactive probe is prepared.
(f) This probe is added to the DNA on the membrane which binds with it.

(g) The extra probe is washed. The remaining probe binds with a specific
sequence of DNA on the membrane forming a particular pattern.
(h) An X-ray film is placed near the membrane to detect the radioactive pattern.
(i) The X- ray film is then developed to get the DNA fingerprint.
3. Thus, where the DNA samples collected are matched with those of the suspect in
the abovementioned manner, a definite conclusion may be arrived at.
4. The Polymerase Chain Reaction is used to amplify a particular sample of DNA.
5. A primer or a single strand of nucleic acid is required in such cases.
6. The DNA polymerase is the enzyme which reacts with this primer by adding new
nucleotides (A, T, C and G) to the existing strand of DNA.
7. This enzyme has two properties- it can generate new strands of DNA using a
DNA template and a primer and it is heat resistant.
8. Thus, at the end of the PCR, several strands of DNA can be generated.
9. What are required by the analyst are a DNA template and the sample DNA which
contains the target sequence at the beginning of the reaction.
10. High temperature is applied to separate the original double stranded molecule.
Note : Please check PCR
Unit III Poisons

Concept and scope of toxicology

1. Toxicology is the science which deals with the knowledge of the sources,
characteristics, properties of poisons, the symptoms they produce, the nature of
their fatal effects and their lethal dose.
2. It is also related to the study of their sale and prescription.
3. Forensic toxicology deals with the harmful effects of poisons.
4. A poison is anything which if administered, inhaled or ingested produces a
deleterious effect on the body.
5. Thus, any substance may become a poison including a medicine, if it tends to
injure the body.
6. However, for the purpose of forensics, a substance is a medicine if it is
administered with the intention to save life. But, where a substance is
administered with the intention to cause harm, it shall be termed a poison.
7. Several modern techniques of toxicology which are sensitive and specific in
nature and involve very small quantities have now been devised.
8. These include the following(a) Chromatography- The popular techniques used for the purposes of toxicology
today involve Thin layer chromatography, gas and liquid chromatography and
high performance liquid chromatography.
(b) Mass spectrography- It is used to identify even very small quantities of
poisons. It can identify any kind of poisons especially organics.

(c) Spectrophotometry- Ultra violet rays, visible light and infra red rays are used
by way of a Spectrophotometer to detect host poisons.
(d) X-ray diffraction- Diffraction (deflection of a wave and other phenomena
which occur when the wave strikes an obstruction) of x-rays is used to
identify poisons, particularly barbiturates, alkaloids, glass and clay. The
diffraction pattern depends on the positioning of radicals and various groups
in the molecule.
(e) Neutron activation analysis- It can detect very small quantities of poison. It is
mostly used in case of metallic poisoning such as lead arsenic poisoning.
(f) Radio Immuno Assay (RIA)- It is a sensitive, specific and rapid technique
used. It is useful of detection of poisons in small quantities even when they
are contaminated especially when poison is to be detected in the viscera of a
(g) Scanning Electron Microscopy- A biological microscope is used as it allows
for magnification. It is used to identify cannabis and its products.

Classification of poisons and routes of administration, action of

poisons, routes of elimination
1. Poisons are classified on the basis of their chief symptoms as corrosives, irritants
and systemic.
2. The action of poisons may be modified due to the quantity or dosage, the form,
the mode in which it is administered and the condition of the body.
3. The greater the quantity or dosage, the more the toxic effect.
4. Small doses are generally used for therapeutic purposes.
5. However, the following are exceptions to this(a) Idiosyncrasy- This refers to inherent intolerants towards certain foods and
substances, which even if they are given in small doses, may prove to be
harmful for the person.
(b) Allergy or hypersensitivity- A person may be allergic to certain drugs.
(c) Habit- A person may get accustomed to a certain poison as in the case of
alcohol, tobacco, etc. and thus even large doses may not affect such person.
(d) Synergism- It may so happen that even though doses of certain substances
may not affect a person, when such substances are administered in
combination, they may prove fatal.
(e) Emetic effect- Sometimes a large dose may induce violent vomiting or other
symptoms which might in the end protect the person from poisoning.
(f) Cumulative poisons- Sometimes poisons may be fatal even when they are
administered in small doses over a period of time.
12. As regards the form of a poison, the small molecular size, water solubility, lipid
solubility and non ionized status determine the degree of absorption of the poison
by the body.
13. Other important factors include physical size, chemical combination and
mechanical combination.

14. As regards physical size, gases and vapours act quicker than liquids. Liquids in
turn act quicker than solids. Further, even in case of solids, finer substances act
quicker than coarse ones.
15. As regards chemical combination, certain substances when combined with others
may become inert as in the case of acids and alkalis or they may become more
poisonous as in the case of Copper arsenite and Lead carbonate which are not
insoluble in water but are soluble in the hydrochloric acid present in the stomach.
16. As regards mechanical combination, the effect of a poison gets altered
considerably when mechanically combined with other substances. For example
corrosive acids or concentrated alkalis when diluted in water become irritants.
17. The mode of administration of a poison also affects the rapidity of its action.
18. A poison is most effective when inhaled in the form of gas or vapours or when
injected into a vein by a subcutaneous or intra-muscular injection or when applied
to an open wound.
19. Its application is slower when it is ingested in a partly soluble form or when the
stomach is full.
20. Its action slows down when it is applied to unbroken skin.
21. A poison ingested into the stomach acts faster than when it is ingested into the
22. Snake venom has no effect when it is ingested but it is highly toxic when injected.
23. In case of cocaine, it acts as an anaesthetist when injected and as a convulsant
when ingested.
24. Conditions of the body such as age and health also affect the action of poisons.
25. Poisons work rapidly in young age (around infancy and childhood) as well as old
26. Where the person has poor health, the poison reacts more rapidly. For example,
where a person has coronary heart disease, he shall be affected by the presence of
carbon monoxide.
27. When a person is sleeping or is intoxicated, the body metabolism is low and thus
the action of poison is delayed in such cases.
28. Poisons may be inorganic, organic or biological poisons.
29. Inorganic poisons may be metals, non metals, metalloids, acids, bases, oxides or
30. Organic poisons include synthetic drugs, alcohols, petroleum products,
insecticides, etc.
31. Biological poisons include those derived from plants or plant products such as
nicotine, cocaine and atropine or those derived from animals such as snake
32. Poisons have also been classified according to their misuse into homicidal,
suicidal and accidental poisons.
33. Homicidal poisons include Potassium cyanide, arsenic, aconite and opium.
34. Suicidal poisons are generally those which are readily available to a person such
as arsenic, opium or barbiturates.
35. Accidental poisoning occurs in various cases, for example where poisons are
mistaken for food or medicines, drug overdose, prescription of wrong drug by a

doctor, gas taps left open or where raw coal is allowed to burn in closed rooms,
carelessly handling poisonous materials such as insecticides, etc.
36. Poisons may be administered by the enteral, parenteral and sublingual routes.
37. Enteral routes involve entry by the mouth or rectum, where it is absorbed by the
mucous membrane in such organs.
38. Parenteral route involve injection which may be intra-dermal, intra-muscular,
intra-arterial or by inhalation through air passages or by external application on
wounds or by introduction into natural orifices such as the rectum, nose, eyes, etc.
39. Poisons are generally eliminated either as they are or in combinations as faeces,
urine or excretions from the skin.
40. They may even be eliminated in breast milk and thus may be poisonous for the
41. They may at times come out in as part of saliva and other mucous or serous
products, which may thereafter be eliminated as faeces or be reabsorbed
depending on the amounts secreted.
42. The action of poisons may either be local, remote local, systemic or general.
43. It is local where it affects the localised site of application.
44. This may lead to corrosion as in the case of strong mineral acids or congestion
and inflammation as in the case of irritants.
45. They may produce gross changes which are visible to the naked eye.
46. Where the poison affects a definite area, such as the liver or the kidney, its action
is termed as being remotely local.
47. In such cases, generally the poison affects the organ with which it has an affinity
as can be seen in the case of digitalis and the heart, opiods and the cerebral cortex,
48. Systemic action is where a certain physiological system such as the great intestine
tract is affect.
49. General action is where a variety of tissues are affected and it need not just affect
a single system as can be seen in the case of poisoning by lead, mercury, arsenic
or barbiturates, etc.

Legal aspects of poisoning

13. The IPC under S.284 deals with criminal poisoning. It lays emphasis on the fact
that a poison must be a substance which poses a danger to human life. It also
takes cognisance of the malicious intention of the person administering such
poison, irrespective of the quantity and quality of poison used.
14. The Poisons Act, 1919 regulates the sale, import, possession, etc. of poisons under
the authority of the Central Government.
15. It requires that certain licenses must be obtained from the Central Government
before importing certain poisons. The Central Government may also regulate
grant of such licenses.
16. Further, any appropriate government, subject to the control of the Central
Government may make rules and regulations as regards the sale, both wholesale
and retail of poisons in a particular territory.

17. The Act also empowers state governments to regulate possession of specific
poisons in a locality where it is likely to be used for homicide or cattle poisoning.
18. The NDPS Act, 1985 has repealed the Opium Acts of 1878 and 1957 and the
Dangerous Drugs Act, 1930.
19. It provides for greater control over narcotics and drugs and has increased the
penalties for trafficking in such substances.
20. It also provides for regulation of psychotropic substances in consonance with the
various conventions relating to narcotics and psychotropic substances India has
entered into.
21. The Act defines a narcotic drug as including cocoa leaf, cannabis, opium, poppy
straw and any other manufactured drug.
22. A manufactured drug includes cocoa derivatives, medicinal cannabis, opium
derivatives, poppy straw concentrate and such other manufactured drug as may be
declared so by the Central Government by way of notification in the official
23. Psychotropic substances have been defined as any substance, whether natural or
synthetic listed in the Schedule to the Act. This schedule lists 77 such substances.
24. Ss. 12-25 provide for penalties for offences (set out in S.8) under the Act which
are more or less the same for all drugs which are prohibited except cannabis. The
penalties are very drastic.
25. S.27 punishes a person who consumes or has in his possession for consumption,
any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance with upto 1 year imprisonment or
fine or both.
26. The section also punishes a person who consumes cocaine, morphine or heroin or
any other such substance as notified by the Central Government with
imprisonment upto 6 months or fine or both. These are regarded as being soft
27. Small quantity has been taken to mean that as has been specified by the Central
Government by notification.
28. In the case of opium and hashish, it is 5g, in case of opium, it is 25g, in case of
ganja, 500g and in case of heroin, smack or brown sugar, 250mg.
29. However, the NDPS Act expressly preserves the provisions of the Drugs and
Cosmetics Act which punishes the adulteration of drugs.
30. The Drugs Act, 1940 was brought into force primarily to regulate the import into,
sale, manufacture and distribution of drugs in India such as patented or
proprietary medicines, substances which are known as vaccines and sera toxins,
vitamins, hormones, other drugs used for treatment and internal and external use
of human beings and animals, etc.
31. The Act was amended in 1955 to include substances other than food which affect
the structure or function of the human body or are intended to be used to destroy
vermin or insects which cause disease.
32. Thus, insecticides, disinfectants and contraceptives have now been brought under
its purview.
33. In 1962, the Drugs Act was amended to include cosmetics and thus the Act is now
called the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1962.

34. In 1964, the Act was amended to cover medicines coming under the Ayurveda or
Unani system.
35. The authorities under the Act are as follows(a) Drugs Consultative Advisory Board- To advise the Central government and
State governments as regards technical matters arising under the Act.
(b) Ayurvedic and Unani Drugs Technical Advisory Board
(c) Drugs Consultation Committee- Consists of 2 representatives from the Centre
and one representative each from the states. It brings about uniformity in the
law relating to drugs in the entire country.
(d) Central Drugs Laboratory- It has been established to test samples of drugs
imported into the country and given to it for examination by the Assistant
Drug Controller. It also acts as the final authority as regards dispute over the
analysis of a drug with respect to which prosecution is pending in a court.
24. The Act also provides that no drug shall be imported, sold, stocked, exhibited for
sale, etc. unless it has displayed on its label or container, its true formula or
ingredients contained in it and the same is intelligible to a person of the medical
25. When taking any drug for analysis, the inspector will have to pay its fair price.
26. He will then have to divide the drug into four samples, one for the vendor, one for
the person from whom the vendor has procured the drug, one to be sent to the
government analyst and one to be presented before the court if required.
27. The offences under this Act can be tried only by a Judicial Magistrate First Class.
28. After the amendment of 1955, only the Central Government can frame rules under
the Act.
29. Previously, the rules required that the formula of a patented or proprietary
medicine had to be registered with the Director of the Central Drugs Laboratory.
This has now been done away with keeping in mind the requirement to abolish the
undesirable practice of selling drugs under an undisclosed formula.
30. Biological and certain other products can be imported only under a license.
31. Small quantities of such drugs may be imported for personal use by obtaining a
license from the Drugs Controller.
32. As regards poisonous substances, certain restrictions have been placed on their
storage (to be stored in such containers as to prevent any leakage), sale and
prescription (certain entries must be made in the register as regards the same).
33. However, a record in the register is not required where prescription has been
provided under the Employees State Insurance Scheme.
34. Such substances must be labelled as poison.
35. They must also include a statement that they are to be sold by retail only on the
prescription of a registered medical practitioner.
36. The prescription must be in writing and signed, must mention the name and
address of the person for whose treatment it is being given and must specify the
37. The persons dispensing the medicine must not dispense it more than once unless
the prescriber has specified the same.

38. The Pharmacy Act, 1948 has been passed to regulate the profession of Pharmacy
and constitute Pharmacy Councils for such purpose.
39. Only a registered pharmacist can prepare, mix or dispense with any medicine
prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, except under the direct and
personal supervision of a registered pharmacist.
40. Any contravention of the provisions of this Act shall be punishable with
imprisonment which may extend to 6 months or with fine or both.

1. Alcoholism is a common medical and social problem which affects a persons
health as well as social function. It is a disorder which is characterised by
excessive drinking.
Alcohol consumption, procurement and sale need to
be regulated by law due to the growing popularity of alcohol.
Taxes levied on alcohol form a large part of
government revenue.
Unauthorised procurement, sale and consumption of
alcohol are prohibited by law.
The law with respect to alcohol has also gained
importance as regards traffic accidents, industrial accidents, incidents of domestic
and other forms of violence, cases of suicide and homicide, injury, etc.
Ethyl alcohol is transparent, colourless volatile
liquid having a characteristic spirituous odour and a burning taste. It is obtained
by distillation, fermentation and fortifying wine.
7. Absolute alcohol contains 99.95% alcohol while rectified spirit contains 90%
8. Alcoholic beverages are a mixture of alcohol and water with small amounts of
congeners produced during the fermentation process. The characteristic flavour is
due to these organic compounds like propyl alcohol, glycerine, aldehydes etc.
The odour may persist in the breath for several hours due to non-alcoholic
constituents (congeners) in the drink. Alcoholic beverages are of three classes:
(a) Wines: fermented juice of fruits, berries and flowers.
(b) Fermented malt beverages like beer.
(c) Distilled liquor like brandy, rum, whiskey etc.
9. Alcoholic beverages contain the following amounts of alcohol in them:
(a) Rum, Whiskey, brandy - 42.8%
(b) Gin- 42.8 or 40 or 37.2%
(c) Wines- 15.5%
(d) Beers- 2-10%
(e) Country liquor- 11.4-45.7%

10. Measurement of alcohol level are most conveniently taken by monitoring expired
air, expressed as blood alcohol level which represents grams of alcohol per 100ml
of blood.
11. The breath analyser relies on the fact that when consumed alcohol is not altered in
the bloodstream and on the volatility of the compound. The latter is important
when alcohol laden blood passes through the tiny channels in the air sacs of the
lung, the volatility encourages its passages across channels membrane into the
lung where it is exhaled.
12. The absorption of alcohol begins after ingestion dependent on a number of factors
like presence or absence of food in the stomach. Food delays absorption and is
most marked in presence of fats and proteins.
13. Concentration of alcohol is important and stronger the drink, more rapid the
effects. Absorption is usually complete within the first hour. After a single dose
the maximum concentration of blood is reached at the same time.
14. After absorption the alcohol is distributed more or less evenly throughout tissues
with an exception to bones and fat. By estimating the amount of alcohol in the
blood it is possible to calculate the approximate total quantity in the body at the
15. The most acute effect of alcohol is its effect on the central nervous system. The
first effects appear to be depression of the highest evolutionary systems, the
centres regulating the conduct of judgment and self-criticism. It passes
progressively downwards through centres of early evolutionary origin to the
motor centres finally depressing and paralysing the vital centres in the medulla.
16. This first gives feeling of well being and certain slight excitation. The actions,
speech and emotions are less restrained due to lowering of inhibition, with this
there is increased confidence and carelessness of consequences. This implies a
lack of self confidence which is a constant feature of alcohol poisoning.
17. Driving and intoxication:
The law is stringent about driving under influence of alcohol. The permissible
blood alcohol concentration for drivers is up to 30mg% in India, a level where
alcohol acts as a cerebral stimulant. The higher the level of blood alcohol
concentration the more aggressive driving becomes leading to accidents.
It is seen that the effect of alcohol has wide variations; a driver might be safer
driving drunk another may have the opposite effect. It is usually seen that up to
10mg% drivers are unaffected, while at 60mg% chances of accidents double and
at 100mg% they increase to up to 25 times.

Narcotic substances
12. The word narcotic is derived from the Greek word Narkotikos which means a
state of lethargy, sluggishness or sleep.

13. Narcotic drugs are those which alter the consciousness of a person and are
capable of being abused.
14. Any substance which has the potential of producing a deteriorating effect in the
mind and body of a person is a narcotic or a narcotic drug.
15. It may seem advantageous on the outside and may relieve a person of worry,
fatigue or pain. However, it ultimately leads to deterioration in the functioning of
the body.
16. In law, narcotics include any drug whose production, sale and purchase are
prohibited, controlled or regulated.
17. These drugs have been mentioned specifically in Schedules I and II of the
Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
18. Narcotic drugs have been divided into the three main categories of sedatives,
stimulants and hallucinogens.
Sedatives1. Sedatives are generally used as depressants. They help in relieving the user from
pain and worry.
2. Some sedatives include Morphine, Heroin, Opium, Codeine, etc.
3. Barbiturates are derivatives of Barbituric Acid and are known as barbitones or
4. They may be long acting (inducing sleep for upto 8 hours to 24 hours) or
intermediate acting (inducing sleep for 4 hours to 10 hours) or short acting
(affecting a person only for about 3 to 4 hours).
5. Barbiturates are also used as sedatives and analgesics in cases of nervous
breakdowns, emotional upsets or in diseases such as asthma, insomnia and
menstrual irregularities.
6. Barbiturates in such cases are used with other medicines as well.
7. However, they can be harmful when taken in large doses and where there is an
addiction to such substances.
8. Generally, users of alcohol and opiates prefer barbiturates when they do not have
access to alcohol or opiates.
9. Alcohol users even use it for prolonging the period of intoxication.
10. It also helps control emotional tension caused by the usage of cocaine and thus is
used by such persons as well.
11. Barbiturate addiction can lead to a dependency on the drug, the tendency to
increase the dosage and withdrawal symptoms.
12. They induce sleep when taken in small dosages but when they are taken in large
dosages, they lead to insomnia.
13. Withdrawal syndrome after barbiturate usage involves anxiety, giddiness, nausea,
vomiting, insomnia, delirium, twitching of muscles, tremors in hands and fingers,
14. The addict feels confused and loses control, judgment and physical vitality.
15. The intoxication resembles alcohol intoxication and the addict loses control of
motor centers, emotions and suffers from delusions.

16. The symptoms may be seen from the first day of usage and are generally intense
for the first 3 days. They subside after a period of about 10 days.
17. They are also synthetically prepared.
18. Barbiturates are used by hypnotics to induce sleep and relieve pain.
19. They are also used by killers and for suicide. They form part of the truth serum as
Stimulants1. Stimulant drugs are almost the opposite of sedatives. They help to stimulate the
various body functions. However, they lead to deterioration of various body
functions as well.
2. They affect the Central Nervous System.
3. Cocaine and amphetamines (Benzedrine, Dexedrine, etc) are the most common
4. Stimulants help to the counter the effect of sedatives. They keep a person awake
for long hours especially during examinations or long night drives. They help in
pepping up a person.
5. With the passage of time and increase in usage, the person becomes addicted to
the drug.
6. Cocaine is of vegetable origin and is obtained from the leaves of the coca bush.
7. It is a white crystalline slightly volatile alkaloid.
8. It may also be given for the purpose of local anaesthesia as in the case of
Novocain and Xylocane.
9. It is taken in the mouth by way of capsules, in food and drinks, by inhaling, by
applying to the gums, by placing under the tongue or by injecting it in the body.
However, inhaling is the most common method of taking cocaine.
10. The effect of cocaine is almost immediate and the person gets a feeling of
immense pleasure.
11. It stimulates the Central Nervous System and the mental and physical processes of
the body. The person remains hyperactive.
12. Amphetamines such as Benzedrine affect the Central Nervous System and bring
about a feeling of euphoria, increased self confidence, heightening of alertness
and initiative, etc.
13. It prevents sleep and reduces fatigue.
14. Benzedrine is a liquid at ordinary temperature and is administered orally, by
inhaling or by injecting.
Hallucinogens1. Hallucinogens are drugs which affect the mental process of a human being
especially his consciousness, perception and understanding.
2. They are also known as psychedelic or psychotomimetic drugs.
3. They were previously used by mystics and the recluse as they believed that they
could reach the higher power through the same.

4. Hallucinogens generally have a plant origin, though synthetic hallucinogens have
been made available today as in the case of Lysergic Acid Diethyamide (LSD),
and PCP (also known as angel dust or rocket fuel) and DMT which are synthetic
compounds that have similar properties as LSD.
5. A very common hallucinogen is Cannabis or Charas or Bhang or Marijuana,
which is obtained from a shrub called Cannabis Sativa.
6. The NDPS Act defines Cannabis. Almost every part of the shrub may be used to
produce the drug except mature stalks, fibre, seeds, seed oil and cake.
7. The crudest form of Cannabis is Bhang. The flower tops and leaves of the shrub
form Bhang.
8. The purest form is Charas. This is also known as Hashis. It is a pure resin of the
leaves, stem, bark and other parts of the plant.
9. Between Charas and Bhang, as regards purity, comes Ganja.
10. Cannabis is taken by way of cigarettes, hookahs, pipes or in the form of soft
11. Cannabis is a stimulant, a depressant as well as a hallucinogen. Thus, its effects
are confusing.
12. It relieves a person of fatigue and incites hunger.
13. It affects perception as regards time, space and understanding. People suffer from
hallucinations and start weeping, crying, laughing, abusing, and quarrelling.
14. LSD is obtained from the fungus growth on the rye grain.
15. It may be administered orally or by injection.
16. The person experiences vivid hallucinations as regards perception of sound,
colour and other visual distortions.
17. Hallucinogens are usually not addictive and they do not induce drug dependence
or drug tolerance.
18. However, they may be far more dangerous than addictive drugs as the personality
changes brought about are so drastic.
19. Hallucinogens are mostly used by persons in the field of medicine to study mental
Solvents1. These are being used mostly by the younger generation as they are more readily
2. The solvents being misused include petrol and paint thinners.
3. They are taken in a handkerchief or a plastic pouch and sniffed frequently.
4. It gives the desired level of intoxication.
5. It affects the wind pipe, the lungs and the liver.
Synthetic Narcotics1. These are essentially laboratory products.
2. They include designer drugs which are analogs of already prepared drugs.
3. Analogs are chemical compounds which have nearly similar electronic structure
as that of a particular drug but have a different molecular formula.

4. They are used primarily to evade the law or to enhance the effect of the parent
5. Fentanyl is an addictive drug which is almost similar to Morphine but is a lot
more potent than Morphine.
6. Similar is the case of PEPOAP, also known as synthetic heroin, which is similar to
7. Opium is a mixture of about 35 alkaloids, out of which Morphine is the most
8. It also consists of Narcotine, Codeine and Papaverine.
9. It is mostly an addictive drug. It reduces physical activity and causes depression
in the Central Nervous System.
10. It reduces metabolic rate, blood pressure and respiration.
11. Appetite is also lost.
12. It may be smoked, eaten or drank.
13. Morphine is a sedative and a pain killer.
14. Heroin is diacetal morphine.
15. The Heroin from Mexico is brown in colour and thus is called Brown Sugar.
16. It can be abused by inhalation, smoking, eating, drinking or injection.
17. Heroin and other opiates affect the Central Nervous System.
18. It is one of the strongest sedatives and it depresses all body functions, giving the
user immediate pleasure.
Addiction1. Drug addiction is a state of mind and body where a person has lost all self control
as regards the drug and is dependent on it.
2. It is the habit of taking a drug without authorisation from a medical practitioner.
3. Such a person undergoes drastic personality changes, suffers from insomnia,
instability and lack of self confidence especially when he is not under the
influence of the drug.
4. The addict cannot focus on his work and has no social contacts.
5. He becomes a physical, mental and moral wreck and is a burden on the society.
6. Drug addiction is characterised by(a) Uncontrollable craving
(b) Physical dependence- The person falls sick, inactive and incapable of carrying
out his work properly without the drug. The drug becomes part of the
physiological system.
(c) Psychological dependence- This is when the drug affects the persons mental
(d) Tolerance- The person develops tolerance towards the drug and even large
dosages do not affect him. This is not found in habit drugs such as tea, coffee,
cigarettes or sometimes even cannabis, where the person does not develop
tolerance towards the drug.
6. The causes of drug addiction are to reduce tension and pain, to relieve fatigue or
to improve the feeling of well being.


Unit IV Physical Evidences


Questioned documents and their identification- Handwriting

analysis, Role of handwriting expert- private and government, Counterfeit notes and
Electronic signature
Questioned Documents
1. S.3 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act defines a document.
2. Where the authenticity of a document or a part of it is being questioned, it is
called a questioned document or contested document or disputed document.
3. Documents are generally challenged on the following grounds(a) Where the signature or thumb impression on the document is challenged- This
is generally where the signature of a person needs to be admitted.
(b) Where the document is challenged after the signature is admitted- This
happens mostly in cases of forgery where a forger prepares documents by
using signatures obtained on blank paper. It is also useful where the signatures
made previously have been manually or chemically removed.
(c) Where alterations made in the document are challenged- Documents may also
be challenged where there is an alteration in signatures, etc. This may be
identified by studying the chronological order used in the document, the kind
of ink used, sequence of writing, etc.
(d) Where photocopies or carbon copies of the document are challenged- This
becomes important where copies of the document are produced and some
changes have been made in such document.
4. The examiner of a questioned document may also come across certain anonymous
letters which may have been written for the purpose of blackmailing and
5. This may be due to the disturbed mental state of the person writing the letter,
disturbed family life and personal life, etc.
6. In such cases, the examiner is required to carefully compare the handwriting of
the letter with the handwriting of certain suspects and then arrive at a conclusion.
7. Such examination is also carried out in case of love letters, suicide notes or in
case of documents written by a person in routine business and later denied by him
due to fear of certain social or legal or other consequences.
8. Documents may also be challenged on the basis of the date of execution or age of
the document.
9. Herein the age of the document or of a part of it or the chronological order of its
different parts may be challenged.
10. What needs to be seen is whether the document is as old as the date on it
11. Such an analysis must be conducted as back dating of documents is very common.

12. In such cases, documents have often been rejected as they bore dates of years in
which the paper on which it was written was not made or available or where the
instrument or ink or typewriter used was not made or available.
13. Such documents have also been declared to be forged on the ground of different
sequences of strokes in writings or on the basis of revenue stamps.
14. In case of challenged typewritten documents, the examiner has to study the
following factors(a)
The type of typewriter used
He has to link the typed writing to the typewriter used
He has to ascertain the date of the document by examining the wear and
tear marks and other factors
He has to determine whether any fraudulent alterations have been made in
the writing
Handwriting Analysis
1. The handwriting of a mature writer is personal and individual to him.
2. Writing requires coordination of various muscles such as those of the fingers, the
wrists and the arms.
3. The manner in which the fingers, wrist, forearm or the whole arm move while
writing is called writing movement.
4. Finger movement is employed by one who is not very familiar with the writing
process or by a forger, who signs carefully by drawing the outline of the letters.
5. Wrist movement is where the wrist is used to write and the fingers are used only
to grip the pen.
6. Forearm movement is employed by those who have a higher degree of muscular
7. The whole arm movement involves the action of the arm without any pivot. It is
generally seen while writing in capitals or while writing on a blackboard, etc.
8. A person who uses finger movement cannot write using the higher movements.
9. However, a person who can write using the higher movements can use the finger
movement and thus can forge the writing of another.
10. Pen pressure is the force or pressure applied while writing. The more the pressure,
the finer is the writing. This habit is developed unconsciously and automatically.
11. Shading is the difference in the width of the strokes.
12. Pen position is the position or angle of the pen as regards the writing surface or
the line or direction of writing.
13. Pen scope is the distance travelled by the pen from one point to another without
changing the pivot.
14. The speed of writing is the ease with which the pen moves on the paper.
15. Line quality refers to the character or quality of lines or strokes in writing which
show as to how the pen was moved, when the pen paused, writing speed, fluency,
16. Unusual departures of the line from its usual course are called tremors. They may
be natural or artificial.
17. Alignment is the relation of the words, etc written to a base line.

18. For forensic examination, the writings of a person which is known to be of that
person (known writings) must be compared with questioned writings.
19. Such writing must have adequate quantity and quality. It must also be proved to
be of the person so known.
20. The investigators may even request a suspect to provide samples of his
21. It must be ensured that adequate material is made available.
Forgery1. S.463 of the IPC defines forgery as an act where a person makes a false document
or part of such document with the intent to cause damage or injury or to support
any claim or title or to cause any person to part with property or to enter into a
contract or to defraud someone.
2. Forgery may be by writing with pen or pencil, typewriting, engraving, erasing or
altering the document, etc.
3. The various types of forgery are as follows(a) Free hand simulated or copied forgery- This is when the forger tries to copy
the design of letters, etc. of another.
(b) Traced forgery- This is when outlines of signatures are drawn by tracing them.
This may be done even by way of carbon paper tracing, by indented tracing,
by using tracing paper, by using a transmitted image or by using a scanned
(c) Forgery by memory- This is when the forger forges the handwriting,
signature, etc. of a person by remembering the forms of the letters, etc. used.
Such type of forgery can be easily detected as no person can duplicate
anothers writing exactly by memory.
(d) Forgery without model or forgery by impression- Where a person merely
writes or signs as another with the motive of impersonating such other, he
commits forgery by impression. There is no attempt made to trace from a
model signature.
4. Disguise is a deliberate attempt to delete ones individual characteristics. It can
take the form of change in slant, change in size, altered letter design, etc.
5. Alteration is any change which gives a different effect from what was originally
6. If the change is made after execution of the document and without the consent of
the other party, it is called fraudulent alteration.
7. Obliteration is the physical covering of entries, such as by way of an opaquing
8. Erasures involve removal of some unwanted date, figure, word, letter or digit.
This is seen in several disputed documents.
9. The following techniques may be used in erasures, namely(a) Mechanical erasures- This is done by scraping the surface by a knife, blade,
(b) Solvent action- Solvents such as water, alcohol, petrol, etc. are used.

(c) Chemical action- Certain chemicals such as Potassium permanganate solution,
chlorine, bromine water and sulphurous acid may be used.
(d) Detergent action- Detergents are used to remove inks from the surface by way
of swabbing.
(e) Trimming- Sometimes, the paper may be trimmed to remove certain unwanted

Finger prints and Foot prints

Important fingerprint terminology1.

Fingerprints are impressions of the bulb of the finger on a surface.

Ridges- defined later
The design formed by ridges is called the fingerprint pattern.
The area covering the portion of fingerprint from which the fingerprint pattern
may be determined is called the Pattern area.
5. The type lines are the inner most ridges which start parallel to, diverge or
surround the pattern area.
6. The Delta is a point on the ridge which is at or in front of or is nearest to the
centre of divergence of the type lines.
7. The approximate centre about which the ridges form a pattern is called the core. It
is important in ridge counting and ascertaining the presence of loops and whorls.
8. The peculiarities in ridges are known as ridge characteristics.
9. When one ridge splits into two ridges which run in different directions, it is called
a bifurcation.
10. When a normally flowing ridge ends abruptly, it is called a ridge ending.
11. When a single ridge bifurcates and reunites to enclose some space, it is called an
12. A small ridge having only one sweat pore is called an island.
13. The number of ridges crossing or touching an imaginary line drawn between the
core and delta of a loop pattern is called ridge counting.
Fingerprints- general
1. Impression evidence is defined as any object or material which has retained the
characteristics of another object or material due to direct physical contact with
such other.
2. There are a few fundamental principles as regards fingerprints which are as
follows(a) No two persons are known to have the same fingerprints or ridge
(b) The individuality of prints is dependent on the finger print pattern as well as
the ridge pattern which is also known as minutae. (check)
(c) In a print one must compare the several characteristics that are not only
identical but have the same relative location to one another.

(d) There should be a point to point comparison.
(e) 8 to 16 ridge patterns are sufficient to meet the criteria of individuality.
3. The skin on the inner surface of the palm and the soles of the feet contain ridges
which help the hands and feet in grasping and prevent them from slipping while
4. These ridges have a tendency to form fixed patterns.
5. The skin bearing ridges and furrows is called friction skin as it creates friction
between the skin and the object which it is in contact with.
6. There are sweat glands on the flat surfaces of the ridges which emerge underneath
pores which are arranged in rows.
7. In India and most parts of the world, Henrys system of classification of
fingerprints is used. This system classifies fingerprints as follows(a) Whorl- Spiral and Oval
(b) Loop- Radius and Ulna
(c) Arch, plain and tented
(d) Composite- Lateral, Central, Twine and Accidental
8. A plain arch pattern is where the ridge enters from one side and flows or tends to
flow to the other side. There is a small rise in the centre which looks like a hill.
9. There is generally no delta. However, if there is a delta, there should be no ridge
count between the delta and the core.
10. A tented arch is where the ridges enter from one side and flow towards the other
just like in a plain arch.
11. However, towards the centre, there is an upward thrust which looks like a tent.
12. The adjoining ridges in such case arrange themselves on either side of the axis of
the tent formed.
13. The loop pattern is where the ridges enter from one side of the impression and
exit from the same side after re-curving or tend to exit from the same side.
14. It is further sub divided into the radial loop and the ulnar loop.
15. The radial loop is a loop pattern which flows towards the radial bone or towards
the thumb. It has the following characteristics(a) It has a delta
(b) There is sufficient re-curving
(c) There is atleast one ridge count between the delta and the core
(d) No ridge makes a complete circuit
(e) The loop flows towards the radial bone
16. The ulnar loop is one which flows towards the ulnar bone or towards the little
17. It has all the characteristics of the radial loop (points (a) to (d) above) except that
it flows towards the ulnar bone.
18. The whorl pattern involves ridges re-curving in a circular manner and at least one
ridge making a complete circuit around the core.
19. There must be two deltas. There must be a re-curving ridge around each delta.

20. The line joining the two deltas must touch at least one of the re-curving ridges in
the pattern area.
21. The whorls may be circular, spiral or oval or any other variation of a circle.
22. When two or more patterns combine to form one pattern, it is called a composite
pattern. These include the Central pocket loop, the Lateral pocket loop, the
twinned loop and the accidental pattern.
23. In the Central pocket loop, most of the ridges form loops and one such ridge recurves and forms a pocket near the core.
24. There are two deltas and at least one of the ridges must complete a full circuit.
25. However, the line joining the two deltas should not touch or cross any re-curving
ridge in the pattern area.
26. In a lateral pocket loop pattern, there are two deltas.
27. There are also two separate and distinct overlapping loops with separate
28. At least one ridge in each loop must be independent of the other loop.
29. The core forming line should open on the same side of the deltas. Thus, the core
lines are not divided by the deltas.
30. In case of a twinned pattern, it has all the characteristics of the lateral pocket loop
pattern except that the core forming lines should open on either side of the deltas.
Thus, the core lines are divided by the deltas.
31. An accidental pattern is one which consists of two or more patterns and is too
irregular to be classified under any other pattern belonging to the composite
32. There may be difficulty in classifying fingerprints due to some prenatal or
congenital abnormalities a person may be suffering from.
33. A persons hobby or occupation may leave certain marks on their fingers as is
seen in the case of stone cutters, persons who play stringed instruments, etc.
34. The fingerprints collected from a scene of crime have been called latent
35. However, as they are not always hidden, they are called chance impressions.
36. They are of three kinds- latent impressions, visible impressions and plastic
37. Latent impressions are those prints which are barely visible and thus must be
38. They are formed due to deposition of any colourless greasy substance on a
persons finger such as sweat, dirt or other oily matter from the skin, hair, face,
tools, etc.
39. Visible prints are those made with some coloured material such as ink, blood, etc.
40. No development is required. The prints may simply be photographed with or
without using filters.
41. They do not require powders.
42. Plastic prints are impressions made on a pliable surface such as mud, wax, soap,
thick dried blood, paraffin, etc.
43. They may be photographed by angular illumination.

44. When prints are left on a candle, they may even be intensified by rolling a thick
layer of printers ink by means of a rubber roller over them and then
photographing them.
45. Plastic prints may be developed by filling in suitable powders in the furrows.
Development of latent fingerprints1. Latent fingerprints may be developed by physical or chemical methods.
2. The electronographic method can also be used where an x-ray film is placed over
the area where the print is located.
3. Thereafter, fine red powder is dusted over the area. The electrons emitted by the
lead atoms affect the x-ray film and give rise to the developed print.
4. This technique is useful even on living skin.
5. The physical methods include powder dusting and iodine fuming.
6. In case of powder dusting, the prints are lifted from the surface after dusting
powder on the same. This is done when the prints cannot be photographed owing
to the location of the prints, etc.
7. Iodine fuming is the oldest method of collecting fingerprints on porous surfaces.
8. When iodine crystals are subjected to heat, they vaporise producing violet
coloured fumes.
9. These fumes come into contact with the latent impressions which develop a
yellowish brown colour.
10. The chemical methods include the following(a) Silver Nitrate method- In this method, the Silver nitrate reacts with the
Sodium chloride present in the perspiration in the latent impression to form
Silver chloride, which is light sensitive. This Silver chloride breaks into silver
and chloride when exposed to light. The fingerprints which are developed
appear reddish brown in colour.
(b) Ninhydrin method- Ninhydrin reacts with the amino acids present in
perspiration and causes purple-reddish stains.
(c) Osmic acid method- Osmic acid vapours react with the oils in perspiration to
form metallic osmium. This develops the latent prints.
(d) Cyanoacrylate method- Often called the super glue method.

Explosives and Fire arms

Forensic ballistics
1. It is that branch of forensic science which helps in the interpretation of all ballistic
related wounds, particularly gun shots.
2. The marks caused by every weapon are different from the other. Thus, the source
of the bullet, etc. can be identified.
3. Forensic ballistics form key evidence during police investigations and trials.
4. Evidence in such cases includes fire arms, bullets and cartridge cases.
5. Some ballistics related phenomena include bullet holes; gun shot wounds, bullet
tranjections and bullet damage on various media.

6. Studies have shown that the marks produced by two fire arms are always different
even if they are of the same model and the same type.
7. Fire arms do not normally change characteristics over a period of time and thus
even though they are recovered after a very long time, the bullet or cartridge cases
found can be matched with the fire arm used.
8. Further, fire arms can also be examined on the basis of class characteristics which
are also known as intentional characteristics or designed characteristics.
9. This relates to certain characteristics exhibited by a class or group of fire arms.
10. The class characteristics that relate to bullets are the calibre and the rifling pattern
of the barrel.
11. The class characteristics relating to the cartridges and cartridge cases include
breech marks, firing pin impressions, extractor marks and ejector marks.
12. Where the class characteristics do not match or where there are certain
dissimilarities no further examination needs to be conducted.
13. Individual characteristics on the other hand are imperfections or irregularities with
respect to one particular fire arm.
14. They may be caused during manufacture or by use or damage or corrosion.
15. As they are characteristic to one tool, they help distinguish it from other tools.
16. For the purpose of forensic ballistics, it becomes necessary to check the range of
the fire which may be done by examining the photographs, sketches and
description of the injuries, the suspected fire arm and the ammunition used.
17. The existence of a muzzle (end of the gun from where the bullet is fired) pattern,
it is a contact wound as in suicide cases.
18. The whole charge consisting of projectiles, burnt or semi burnt powder, hot gases,
wads, etc. enters the target.
19. Where the hot gases cannot expand inside, they come out through the hole made
and tear the skin around the hole.
20. Scorching is caused where the shot has been fired from a close range. It is caused
due to flame or hot gases. It is also known as charring or burning or singing.
21. Blacking is caused due to deposit of smoke particles at close range by all types of
22. However, blacking is most in case of gunpowder wherein the colour is black.
23. It is lesser in case of semi-smokeless powder and least in case of smokeless
powder wherein the colour is greyish black.
24. Tattooing is caused by embedding of unburnt or semi-burnt powder particles on
the surface of the target called peppering or stippling.
25. As these particles are heavier than the smoke particles, they retain motion for a
longer period of time and thus cover an area which is one and half times more
than the blackening range.
26. Powder residue- The amount of powder residue that gets deposited on the target
varies according to the range of the weapon which is generally one metre
(maximum) in case of most handguns.
27. There are also certain metal particles which are produced due to lead (bullet
consists of lead) fouling or scraping projectiles. These particles being heavier than
the smoke particles and the powder travel to a greater distance.
28. They depend on the ammunition and the fire arm used.

29. They cannot be detected by the naked eye and require soft x-rays or a chemical
test to be seen.
30. In case of shotguns, the area covered by the pellets fired (pellet pattern) is directly
proportional to the distance between the muzzle of the fire arm and the target.
Thus, the farther the target, the greater the area to be covered.
31. This is dependent on the length of the barrel of the fire arm, the muzzle of the fire
arm and the type of ammunition.
32. A dirt ring is formed around the wound as most projectiles have grease around
them. Dirt sticks to such grease.
33. Such ring helps to indicate the entry of the projectile but does not help determine
the range.
34. An entrance wound is caused from where the bullet enters the target and is
smaller than the exit wound.
35. It is usually smaller in diameter than the projectile. But, it may also be of the same
or of a greater diameter at times.
36. Such wounds may be circular, oval, key-shaped, ragged or explosive.
37. Explosive category of wounds is often confused with wounds caused by
explosives. However, they are caused by high velocity projectiles.
38. Exit wounds are generally irregular, though they may be circular or gaping at
39. The dimensions of exit wounds are ordinarily more than that of the entry wounds
and their diameter is more than that of the projectile.
40. The internal track through the target is either a straight tunnel or is zigzag due to
deflection of the projectile.
41. It may also be a multi-channel where there is fragmentation of the projectile or
formation of secondary projectiles.
Fire arms1. A fire arm is a device which is used to hurl a projectile(s).
2. The force for the same is due to the creation and expansion of air which is
generally caused due to burning of the powder charge.
3. In air rifles, the force is supplied by the expansion of compressed air.
4. A fire arm has been defined under the Indian Arms Act. (Definition important???)
5. Fire arms which can be easily loaded, carried and operated by a single person are
called small arms. These include hand guns such as revolvers and pistols.
6. Those which are to be first fixed at the shoulder and then used are called shoulder
arms. These include shot guns, machine guns, sub machine guns, rifles and
7. Machine guns and sub machine guns are automatic and fire a large number of
bullets at the same time.
8. Some fire arms found in crime situations in India include shot guns, sub machine
guns, improvised fire arms, pistols, revolvers and muzzle loaders.
9. Out of these, pistols and improvised fire arms are the most commonly found in
10. The four types of guns are semi-automatic, revolvers, shot guns and rifles.

11. Bullets are of four types, namely full metal jacket, soft point, hollow point and
lead alloy.
12. There are also four cartridge markings, firing pin impression, breech lock
impression, ejector mark and extractor mark.
13. The Indian Arms Act defines ammunition as meaning ammunition for any arms.
14. The Act includes a number of articles in the definition of ammunition. However,
ammunition essentially includes projectiles, cartridges and propellants.
Parts and characteristics of fire arms1. Barrel- It is the metal tube through which the bullet comes out. It also allows for
expansion of gases and contains the cartridge. There is however no chamber in a
revolver for a cartridge as they are placed in a revolving cylinder.
2. The action in case of fire arms consists of the mechanism for loading of the
weapon, firing, followed by extraction and ejection of cartridges, the magazine
and the safety devices.
3. It may be in the form of pump action, lever action, bolt action or it may be
automatic as in the case of machine guns.
4. The bore forms the inside part of the barrel. There may be some smooth bore
5. Bores are essentially of two types, smooth bore and rifle bore.
6. Smooth bore fire arms include signal pistols, muskets, shot guns, etc.
7. Here the barrel is smooth and the inner cross section forms a circle at all points.
8. The projectiles fired from such weapons include pellets and shots (small lead
balls.) Sometimes single projectiles like balls and slugs are also fired.
9. Fire arms which have a rifled bore include a service rifle, sporting rifles and
machine guns.
10. It consists of grooves which are cut or formed in a spiral nature, lengthwise down
the barrel.
11. Rifling is placed in the barrel of the fire arm so as to make the bullets spin and
help them in flight.
12. Generally most shot guns have no rifle. Most guns and rifles have rifling.
13. The breech is the end of the barrel which is attached to the action.
14. The bullets are the projectiles used in fire arms. They differ in fire arms for a
variety of purposes, such as they may be round nose or hollow point or jacketed
or wad-cutter or semi wad-cutter, etc.
15. The calibre is the diameter of the bore which is measured from land to land and is
expressed in hundredth of an inch.
16. A cartridge which is also called around consists of a case, primer powder and the
17. It consists of the powder charge, the projectile charge, the cap composition and
the shell.
18. The shell holds the other three parts of the cartridge.
19. The powder charge is separated from the projectile charge by way of wads
especially in case of shot gun ammunition.

20. The chamber is the portion of the action which holds the cartridge, ready for
21. Land is the metal left inside the barrel left after the grooves are cut to form the
rifling. It is the raised point between two grooves.
22. Grooves are canal like furrows.
23. A magazine is a device which is used to store a cartridge in a repeating fire arm,
for loading into the chamber.
24. The muzzle is the end of the barrel from where the bullet exits.
The firing process1. When the trigger of the fire arm is pressed, it releases the hammer or the striker
with a large amount of force.
2. This compresses a highly pressure sensitive material, the cap compression
contained in the percussion cap.
3. The material catches fire and due to the heat produced, the powder charge catches
fire. The powder then turns into gases in no time.
4. As the volume of these gases produced increases, the pressure increases as well,
releasing the projectile from the cartridge and through the barrel.
5. The projectile comes out with high velocity and moves towards the target.
6. However, the velocity decreases where the target is far away from the fire arm.
This is due to air resistance and gravitational force which neutralises the same.
Ultimately, the projectile falls to the ground where its velocity decreases
7. In case of a rifled fire arm, the projectile has two motions, forward velocity and
angular spin.
8. The angular spin is caused due to the rifling. In such a motion, the projectile spins
on its longitudinal axis.
9. This helps the projectile to reduce the air resistance, thereby increasing its
velocity and the trajectory is flatter.
10. Thus, the aim and range of the projectile is considerably improved.
Types of Fire arms1. Automatic is a common terminology used for a semi-automatic pistol.
2. In fact, there are only a few automatic pistols which continue to fire as long as the
trigger is held and the magazine is not exhausted.
3. Some pistols, machine guns and sub-machine guns belong to this category.
4. A semi-automatic handgun requires pressing the trigger each time so that it loads
the cartridge from a vertical maxim automatically.
5. There are also fully automatic machine guns and military weapons. However,
these are all rifles.
6. Rifles are anything which is held with both hands.
7. Action in case of a rifle is supplied by way of lever action, bolt action, pump
action and self loading.
8. Rifles which have self loading are semi-automatic or automatic rifles.

9. A carbine is a short barrelled rifle.
10. A shotgun is a smooth bored short range shoulder weapon which fires small metal
11. Single shot fire arms are target pistols. They must be loaded each time before
firing. All shot guns and some rifles are single shot fire arms.
12. Repeaters are weapons which have a magazine containing two or more cartridges.
Thus, extraction, ejection and reloading are done by way of a single manual
13. Self loaders are weapons in which once a cartridge is fired, it is automatically
ejected and a new cartridge from the magazine is loaded. Thus, extraction,
ejecting and reloading takes place in the second and subsequent firing, till the
magazine is exhausted. Pistols and modern service rifles belong to this category.
14. Automatics- points 2 and 3
15. There are also Assault rifles such as AK 47, AK 56 and AK 74. These are both
automatic and semi automatic.
16. As they are being misused by insurgents, the Indian government has come up with
the INSAS 5.56 to regulate their use.
Bullets1. Bullets are projectile pieces of cartridge. They have a lead core which is hardened
within antimony, copper, zinc or any other allow or inside a hard metal envelope.
2. A full metal jacket is one in which the core is as hard as the metal surrounding it.
3. A bullet comprises of a cartridge case, the primer powder and the bullet.
4. The cartridge case is made up of brass.
5. Its end may be rimmed, semi-rimmed or rim-less.
6. Where the bullet is rim free, the primer powder is found around the circumference
of the rim and thus the firing pin may strike anywhere. This is found in 0.22
calibre ammunition.
7. In case of a centre fire cartridge, the firing pin must strike the centre of the head
so as to crush the primer powder.
8. In most cases, the rim is provided so that the ammunition fits in better in the
cartridge cases.
9. The primer powder is used to produce a small spark or flame which ignites the
10. However, now days, smokeless nitro cellular based powder is also available.
11. The most common type of gunpowder today is the one which is made up of 75%
of Potassium nitrate, 15% of charcoal and 10% of sulphur.
Characteristics of Fire arm wounds
1. The study of wounds produced by missiles fired from fire arms is called terminal
2. There are several factors affecting such wounds such as the type of wound, the
distance, the direction, the variations in ammunition, etc.
3. Gunshot wounds may be penetrating or perforating.

4. Further, they may be classified on the basis of the distance between the muzzle
and the target as contact, near contact, intermediate and distant.
Mechanism of injury1. The passage of a projectile or bullet causes several changes in the body.
2. The projectile when it enters the body possesses kinetic energy which is a result
of its mass or size and its speed or velocity.
3. When it touches the point of impact on the skin, it causes a wound through which
it enters the body.
4. After its entry, the projectile passes through the body by crushing the underlying
tissues. It does so by imparting kinetic energy to the tissues it comes in direct
contact with.
5. Thus, it produces temporary cavitation on its track.
Explosives1. An explosive is a substance which on receiving an impulse, undergoes rapid
changes, decomposes and gives out energy in the form of heat, light and pressure.
2. It also confers kinetic energy on all materials including decomposition particles
which come into contact with the expanding gases.
3. The decomposition and conversion to another substance is extremely rapid and
self sustained.
4. Accordingly, explosives may be classified as low and high.
5. Low explosives burn rapidly and high explosives are ones which detonate.
6. Denotation is a rapid chemical reaction using the oxygen present in the material
of the explosive rather than that present in the air. It involves instantaneous
7. The chemical reaction releases gases rapidly which expand and give off energy as
they become hot.
8. Low explosives are generally used in smokeless powder, flares and illumination
9. They undergo decomposition because of a flame front which travels slowly
through the material. The deflagration (when hot burning material heats the next
layer of cold material and ignites it) rates vary from a few centimetres per second.
10. They are generally mixtures and cause lesser destruction. Hence, they are used
primarily as propellants.
11. High explosives on the other hand create more pressure, burn rapidly and detonate
almost instantaneously.
12. Dynamite is the first safe high explosive which will not accidentally explode even
when it is dropped, hit with a hammer or burnt.
13. Dynamites mostly consist of nitro-glycerine.
14. Most high explosives are used in mining, demolition or military warheads.
15. These undergo detonation at almost 1000 to 9000 metres per second.

16. High explosives have further been classified as primary, secondary and tertiary
explosives depending on their sensitivity.
17. Primary explosives are extremely sensitive to shock, heat and friction and will
burn rapidly or will detonate. The most commonly used primary explosive is
18. Secondary explosives are also known as base explosives. These are relatively
insensitive to heat, friction and shock.
19. When exposed to heat or flame in small and confined quantities, they may burn.
However, they may or may not detonate.
20. They are generally added to blasting caps to boost their power.
21. Examples of such explosives include Dynamite, TNT, RDX, PETN and HMX.
22. Tertiary explosives are called lasting agents.
23. They are so insensitive to shock that they cannot be reliably detonated by way of
practical quantities of primary explosives. They thus need an intermediate
explosive booster of secondary explosives.
24. An explosive may consist either of a chemically pure compound such as nitroglycerine or a mixture of oxidizer or fuel such as black powder which consists of
potassium nitrate, charcoal and sulphur.
25. Plasticizers are explosives containing a number of compounds or ingredients.
26. It is soft and easily malleable by hand. They are advantageous as compared to
pure explosives as they are usable over a wider range of temperature.
27. They are generally used in demolitions as they can be moulded into various
shapes in which the structures need to be cut. They also have high velocity of
detonation and have the density for metal cutting work.
28. They are generally not used for ordinary blasting purposes.
29. Chemical explosives are compounds or mixtures which on application of heat or
shock readily decompose or rearrange themselves with extreme rapidity yielding
much gas and heat.
30. A mixture of nitrogen and oxygen may be made to react rapidly in order to yield
Nitric oxide.
31. In case of military explosives, only such materials/explosives as adhered to the
stringent characteristic requirements of a military explosive are used.
32. These include TNT, RDX and PETN which are the most commonly used. Tetnyte
HMX is another kind of military explosive.
33. Military explosives are seldom used singly.
34. Mostly dynamites are used as industrial explosives.
35. In industrial explosives, soil is added to the nitro-glycerine in a 25:75 ratio.
36. In fact in most dynamite sticks being used today, the content of nitro-glycerine is
very less.
37. Other industrial explosives include gelignite, gelatines and nitro-cellulose.
38. Nitro cellulose is also known as gun cotton. It is made up of cotton or other
cellulose by way of nitration.
39. It is used in manufacture of ammunition either singly or in combination with
40. Explosive nitro-cellulose is extremely unstable and decomposes.
41. Water explosives on the other hand do not contain nitro-glycerine.

42. They are solutions of nitrates such as Sodium nitrate, Ammonium nitrate and
Calcium nitrate which are the most commonly used. They contain 15% water.
43. Explosive emulsions are made up of inorganic nitrate mixed with fuel oils and
wax with emulsifiers.
Other explosives1. TNT or Trinitro Toluene is very powerful.
2. PETN or Penta Enithnitol Trinitrate is used in blasting caps and detonators as the
basic charge. It is usually used in booster charges and plastic explosives. It is
highly stable and highly sensitive to impact.
3. Nitro glycerine is pale yellow in colour and is highly dangerous in its liquid form.
It is used in its modified form as dynamite, gelignite, gelatine and plastic gelatine.
4. HMX is similar to RDX. It is used in rocket fuel and as a booster in artillery
5. Aerosol explosive mixtures are non-explosive and explosive mixtures which are
formed of combustible gases.
6. They may also be volatile inflammable liquids such as petrol or combustible
organic dust when dispersed in air.
Unit V- A Medico-legal perspective

AIDS- Acquired Immuno Deficiency SyndromeLegal Aspects

1. AIDS is a fatal transmissible disorder of the immune system that is caused by the
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). HIV slowly attacks and destroys the
immune system leaving individual vulnerable to malignancies and infections and
eventually causing death. HIV is the first stage of AIDS.
2. AIDS was first identified in the US in 1981 and diagnosed in homosexual men
giving impression that it was only inflicted in homosexuals. Later proved that it
was contracted primarily through sexual contact.
3. Intravenous drug users were infected mainly by sharing contaminated hypodermic
needles. It was tested to detect that HIV was contracted mainly through exposure
to blood, semen and other genital secretions and breast milk, not contagious
through coughing, sneezing or casual physical contact.
4. Major mode of transmission is through heterosexual intercourse. The virus can
also spreads from mother to child through placenta or breast milk.
5. Many have been infected by transfusion of contaminated blood or blood products
prior to the screening procedures in late 1980s. Most cases are reported in
developing countries with South and Southeast Asia reporting 20% of the global

6. The high risk groups in the community include;
(a) Commercial sex workers;
(b) Eunuchs;
(c) Drug addicts.
7. Prevention and control:
No vaccine or cure has been developed for HIV and therefore measures are taken
for prevention like:
(a) Changes in sexual behaviour like monogamy;
(b) The use of contraceptives;
(c) Attempt to reduce intravenous drug use and to discourage the sharing of
hypodermic needles led to reduction in infection rates.
Treatment is limited to individual opportunistic infections that arise and
administration of drugs sch as azidothymidine (AZT), zidovudine, 3TC and
8. Ethical considerations come to the fore in HIV positive cases:
(a) Duty towards careHIV status of person does not alter doctors duty to provide care and
acceptance of patient should be guided by same ethical considerations
which govern acceptance of all other patients.
(b) Rights of the patients(i) Entitled to proper diagnostic treatment and care;
(ii) Special emphasis on compassion and sympathetic management;
No discrimination though due precaution should be taken to avoid
spread of the virus.
(c) Medical secretsMedical examiner should not volunteer to reveal confidential information
revealed by patient during treatment except in the court of law. The rule of
confidentiality has been made conditional in positive HIV cases by the SC.
(d) Voluntary disclosureIncase a HIV positive person wishes to get married without revealing
condition the medical practitioner can first request disclosure of the
information and if fails then is morally justified in warning the prospective
(e) HIV and MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy)The question of compulsory MTP of HIV mothers deserves legal
elucidation as disease is transferrable through placenta and breast milk.
Hence, abortion is permissible under MTP of HIV positive mothers.
(f) Spousal interestThe conjugal rights of the person are affected by the HIV positive status of
a spouse. Law is of the view that it is obligatory to inform the spouse.
(g) Children of infected mothers-

While analysing blood samples of a new born baby for HIV the possibility
of sero-positivity due to maternal antibodies must be borne in mind. Grave
social problems posed for children who lost parents to AIDS.
9. Legal and ethical aspects: doctors duty to care:
(a) It is unethical for the doctor to refuse treatment where appropriate
facilities available on grounds of risk of personal risk.
(b) It is unethical for a doctor based on his moral judgment on the patients
activities and lifestyle which may contribute to the condition.
(c) Though these pose serious misconduct the code of medical ethics also
state that a physician should notify concerned public health authority of
every case of communicable disease in his care.
(d) The WHO guidelines state that there is no public health rationale to justify
the isolation, quarantine or discrimination of HIV status or sexual
(e) The current approach to HIV positive or AIDS patients opposes mandatory
testing or isolation and making identity of such persons public.
10. Confidentiality:
While a physician is duty bound to maintain the confidentiality in accordance
with right to privacy of the patient, such non-disclosure may lead to violation of
anothers right to be informed. In such cases disclosure is not violative of Art 21
(Mr. X v. Hospital Y)

Artificial insemination- medico-legal aspects

1. Artificial insemination is defined as deposition of semen in the vagina, cervix and

uterus with instrument to help bring about pregnancy of a healthy woman who is
unable to conceive through sexual intercourse with her husband.
2. Types of artificial insemination:
(a) AIH- Artificial insemination homologous where husbands semen is
obtained through masturbation and deposited in wifes genital tract with
help of instrument.
(b) AID- artificial insemination donor where semen of some other healthy
person other than husband is introduced with help of instrument.
(c) AIHD- artificial insemination homologous donor- where husbands semen
is mixed with pooled donors semen and introduced.
3. Indications or justifications: artificial insemination is only medically justified
where it is indicated. These indications include:
(a) Where husband is impotent but fertile or sterile;

(b) Where husband is suffering from such hereditary defect that is a
contradiction to paternity;
(c) Rh incompatibility between spouses;
(d) Where husband is suffering from mental disease;
(e) Where husband is suffering from congenital abnormalities like
hypospadias or epispadius which are not surgically curable.
4. Guidelines for artificial insemination:
(a) Written consent of both spouses is mandatory.
(b) The identity of the donor and recipient must be kept secret.
(c) There should be parity of race, religion and if possible morphological
appearance between husband and donor.
(d) The donor and wife must accept donation through masturbation of semen.
(e) A nurse or female attendant must be present during insemination.
(f) ICMR guidelines for insemination must be followed.
(g) The donor should be of less than 40 years of age, not related to either
spouse, have children of his own, and should be healthy physically and
mentally without any hereditary diseases and diseases like tuberculosis,
venerable disease, epilepsy and endocrinal diseases.
Semen should be screened for HIV and kept frozen for 3months and not
used till the result of second test of pregnancy is negative.
Note: Material for the remaining topics in this unit has not been provided

Sexual offences- Rape, incest

Medical insanity and legal insanity
Legitimacy and legal aspects of marriage annulment

Unit VI- Medical Negligence and Liability


Concept of negligence, definition of medical


1. Failure to act up to the standard of a reasonable man is negligence. Negligence

has originated from the Latin word culpa which means state of the mind.
2. Negligence includes commission of a negligent act as well as omission to act
leading to negligence.
3. Negligence is the omission to do something which an ordinary prudent man
guided by those principles, which ordinarily regulate conduct of ordinary prudent
man, would do or it is commission which such ordinary prudent man would not
4. Negligence itself is a tort and is also a method of committing some other tort.
5. In Markland v. Manchester Corporation 1936 where corporation neglected
leakage in water pipeline and water converted to ice, a car skid on the ice killing a
person. The court held it to be negligence and ordered corporation to pay

6. Municipal Corporation of Delhi v. Sushila Devi (AIR 1999 SC 1929) where
branch of a dead tree on the road fell and hit a person. The court held corporation
liable for negligence and to pay damages for not taking proper care of dead tree
on the roadside.
7. Justice Salmond said that Negligence, duty of care and degree of care are relative
8. Medical negligence is the breach of duty owed by a doctor to his patients which a
prudent doctor of average skill, knowledge and experience will not do.


Meaning and components of medical negligence

1. The main elements of Medical Negligence include:

(a) The physician owed a duty of care to the patient;
(b) The physician violated such duty of care;
(c) The patient suffered an injury;
(d) The patient suffered considerable loss due to such injury.
2. Doctors are known as professionals. They are those people who have knowledge
and skills which they exercise with reasonable degree of care and caution.
3. Where a medical practitioner holds himself out as a specialist, he will necessarily
be judged by higher standards. In the USA the locality rule and specialist rule is
widely followed.
4. The doctor patient relationship forms the foundation of legal obligation between
doctors and patients.

Liability of medical professionals for negligence

1. There are many regulations in India that regulate medical professional duties,
these include:
(a) Indian Medical Council Act, 1956;
(b) Criminal matters against doctors under S. 304A of the IPC;
(c) Hippocratic Oath- Hippocrates was the Father of Medicine.
2. It is not correct to say that every moral obligation involves legal duty but every
legal duty is founded on a moral obligation.
3. Code of ethics is a self imposed code of conduct accepted voluntarily by the
4. The Medical Council of India has framed regulations regulating the conduct,
etiquettes and ethics of registered practitioners in exercise of powers conferred to
it under S. 20A read with S. 33(m) of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.
S. 20A read with S. 33(m):
1. Duties and Responsibilities of Physicians:
(a) Character of the Physician:
(i) A physician must uphold the dignity and honour of his profession.

(ii) The prime object is to render service to humanity.
No person other than a doctor having qualification recognised by
the Medical council and registered with the National or State Medical
Council is allowed to practice modern medicine or surgery.
(b) Maintaining good Medical practice:
(i) The Principle objective of the medical profession is to render service to
the needy human beings and should not associate professionally with
anyone who violates this principle.
(ii) Membership in medical society.
Physicians should participate in professional meetings as part of
CME for 30 hours every 5 years.
(c) Maintenance of medical record:
Documents shall be issued within a period of 72 hours. Maintain register
of medical certificates giving full details of certificates.
(d) Display registration number: also recognised medical degree as suffix to
the name.
(e) Use of generic names of drugs.
(f) Highest quality of assurance in patient care.
(g) Exposure of unethical conduct.
(h) Payment of professional services based on principle of no cure no
(i) Evasion of legal restrictions.
2. Duties of physicians to their patients:
(a) Obligation to the sickNo physician shall arbitrarily refuse treatment of a patient especially in
case of emergency must treat patient. In case not within range of expertise
of physician then may refer patient to another physician.
(b) Patience, delicacy and secrecy.
(c) Prognosis- physician should not exaggerate or minimise gravity of
(d) Patient must not be neglectedAfter taking up a case, should not neglect or withdraw from the patients
case without giving adequate notice.
(e) Engagement for an obstetric case
3. Duties of physician in consultation:
(a) Unnecessary consultations should be avoided.
(b) Consultation should be for the benefit of the patients.
(c) Punctuality in consultation.
(d) Difference of opinion should not be unnecessarily divulged upon.
(e) Patients should be referred to specialist.
(f) He shall display his fees and other charges on the Board in the Hospital
visiting. Also shall write name and designation on prescription letter head.
4. Responsibilities of physicians to each other:
(a) Dependency on each other in a sense of privilege and pleasure to render
gratuitous service to all physicians and immediate family.
(b) Conduct in consultation should be such as no insincerity, rivalry or enmity.






(c) Consultant should not criticise referring physician or take over the case.
(d) Appointment of substitute.
(e) Visiting another physicians case.
Duties of physician to public and paramedical profession:
(a) Should co-operate with the authorities in the administration of sanitary or
public health laws and regulations like any citizen.
(b) For public health should notify public health authorities of every case of
communicable disease under his care.
(c) Pharmacists or nurses.
Unethical acts by physicians:
(a) Advertising:
Soliciting to patients directly or indirectly, or by printing self photograph.
Exceptions to the case are on:
(i) Starting practice;
(ii) Change of type of practice;
Changing address;
(iv)Temporary absence from duty;
(v) Resumption of or succeeding to another practice;
(vi)Public declaration of charges.
(b) Patents and copyrights of products of interest to large population.
(c) Running open shop.
(d) Should not receive or solicit or offer to receive or solicit rebates and
commissions for medical surgical treatment reference or procurement.
(e) Manufacture and use of secret remedies.
(f) Violation of Human rights.
(g) Euthanasia, abortion, cloning or transplantation of human organs.
Misconduct- professional misconduct renders liable for disciplinary action.
(a) Violation of the regulations;
(b) Non-maintenance of medical records or refusal to provide the same in
(c) Does not display registration number;
(d) Adultery or improper conduct;
(e) Conviction by court for criminal acts;
(f) Sex determination tests;
(g) Signing false professional certificates, reports and documents;
(h) Prescribing steroids or psychotropic drugs with no absolute medical
(i) Performance or enabling performance of abortion or illegal operation
without medical indication;
(j) Shall not issue certificates of efficiency in modern medicine to unqualified
(k) Not discuss secrets of patient except in court of law or where serious and
identified risk to some person or community and notifiable disease;
(l) A physician is a specialist only if he has special qualification in the
Punishment and disciplinary action:

(a) EnquiryOn receipt of complaint of professional misconduct Medical council will
initiate an enquiry and give reasonable opportunity to be heard to
(b) PunishmentOn finding practitioner guilty shall award punishment as necessary which
may involve removal altogether or suspension of license.
(c) RestorationAfter suspension period is over, name of practitioner is restored in the
(d) Decision against delinquent physician should be taken within 6 months
time limit.
(e) Interim order- during pendency of the complaint council may restrain
physician under scrutiny from performing procedure or surgery.

Medical Negligence and Consumer Protection Act

1. Section 2(1)(g) of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 talks about deficiency in
It means fault, imperfection, short coming or inadequacy in the quality, nature and
manner of performance which is required to be maintained by or under any law
for the time being in force or has been undertaken to be performed by a person in
pursuance of a contract or otherwise in relation to any service.
2. The Consumer Protection Act talks about the 3Ds, namely:
(a) Duty;
(b) Default- arising from breach of duty;
(c) Damage- resulting from such breach of duty.
3. In civil and criminal cases against doctors for alleged Medical negligence the
court shall refer case to a competent doctor or committee of doctors. If prima
facie negligence is proved only then notice is issue to the concerned doctor.
4. Procedure in consumer forum or commission includes: (Martin F. DSouza v.
Mohd. Ishfaq 2009)
(a) Admissibility of complaint;
(b) Issue of notice on opponent;
(c) Submission of written statement by opponent;
(d) Rejoinder by complainant;
(e) Sub-rejoinder by opponent;
(f) Evidence by both parties;
(g) Oral and written arguments;
(h) Calculation of compensation under disability, general heads;
(i) Pronouncement of decree/judgment;
(j) Execution of proceedings.


Categories of negligence in medical care

1. Categories of negligence include:

(a) Contributory negligence;
(b) Vicarious liability;
(c) Informed consent.
2. Contributory Negligence:
Contributory negligence is a situation in which both the plaintiff (patient) and the
defendant (doctor) share in the negligence that caused injury to the plaintiff.
In Aslam v. Ideal Nursing Home; operation was to done for removal of uterus and
patient had consumed a lot of heavy food leading to emergency operation and
death of patient. It was held that the advice of the doctor was not followed and
therefore no negligence by the doctor.
3. Vicarious Liability:
Vicarious liability is a legal doctrine that assigns liability for an injury to a person,
who did not cause the injury but who has a particular legal relationship to the
person who did act negligently.
In M/S Spring Meadows Hospital v. Harjol Ahluwalia; patient had typhoid fever
and injection was to be administered slowly, patient collapsed attempts of CPR by
doctors in the AIIMS Pediatrics Unit and led to vegetative state. Court awarded
compensation of 12.5 lakhs and Commission further awarded 5Lakhs to parents
for mental agony.
4. Informed consent:
Each individual has a right to make decisions affecting their own well being. In
case of a doctor patient relationship the onus of disclosure lies upon the doctor.
The lack of consent is a matter of negligence as given in Sideway v. Board of
Governors of Bethlehem Royal Hospital.
In Samira Kholi v. Dr. Prabha Manchanda; an unmarried 44 yr old woman was
advised Diagnostic Laparoscopy for prolonged menstrual bleeding, while still
unconscious doctor took consent of mother to remove uterus and removed uterus,
ovaries and fallopian tubes. Claim for unauthorised removal of reproductive
organs and negligence was dismissed.
In the case, SC laid down guidelines- to wait for the patient to gain consciousness
to discuss proposed treatment and let patient decide from procedures available.
Exception in cases of emergency and incapacity.


Judicial and legislative approach towards


Higher degree of care:

1. Achutrao Haribhau K. V. S. O. Maharasthra; doctor and staff of govt hospital
failed to remove sponge.
2. Donoghue v. Stevenson; based on my neighbour theory where plaintiffs
girlfriend in mental shock as decomposed snail found in her food in the restaurant.

3. C. Shivkumar v. Dr. John Mathur; doctor operated to cut off penis due to bleeding
and blockage of urine led to permanent impotency and directed to pay
compensation to patient for 8 Lakhs.
4. Higher degree of care is expected from person who is providing health care

Absolute degree of care:

5. Ryland v. Fletcher- he who brings, keeps or collects anything which was not
naturally there and it escapes then person is liable for consequences of such
6. M.C. Mehta v. UOI- Oleum gas leak and Union Carbide Case- Bhopal gas leak.
7. Now days court expects absolute degree of care and not ordinary degree of care.
The exception to the rule of strict liability is act of god or vis major.
8. Another concept used by the court is Res Ipsa Locquitor which is things speak for
itself. The prima facie evidence is sufficient to decide the case.
(a) Delhi Municipal Corporation v. Shubhagwanti the British time tower
clock collapsed killing one. Compensation awarded on basis of expert
witness of engineer.
(b) Asha Rani v. Delhi Municipal Corporation- electric supply was through
live open wires.
Unit VII- Techniques used for forensic analysis

Polygraph (Lie detector)

1. In 250 BC, the Greek physician, Erasistratus observed that the human pulse rate
increases when a person is lying.
2. The first time an instrument was used to detect lying was in the 1880s when
Italian criminologist, Cesare Lombroso designed an instrument which measured
blood volume changes in order to detect physical changes when a person is lying.
3. Lombrosos experiment was successful as he managed to catch a murderer from
amongst a group of suspects.
4. Similarly, today a lot of emphasis is given to a polygraph or a lie detector.
5. One of the main factors which must be kept in mind by the court while admitting
evidence is the expertise, training and experience of the polygraphist.
6. The following factors must be kept in mind before using the services of a
polygraphist(a) A polygraph test helps in detecting whether the person is lying or is telling the
truth. Thus, the result of the test can be used to give direction to the

(b) There may be certain physical or mental or other factors that affect such test.
Hence, it may be carried on at a later date as well, so as to confirm the results
of the previous test.
(c) There may be a chance of an error (including human errors) in the outcome of
the test and the same must not come as a surprise.
(d) The test should be conducted only when a decision is taken in this regard. A
person shall not be presumed to be telling the truth merely because he agrees
to a test.
(e) A polygraph test is generally used for a single crime. However, sometimes it
may be carried out at a later stage where more than one crime is involved.
(f) When a person is to be examined, all other interrogation must cease till the
time the test is completed. There must be no interrogation on the day of the
(g) Where the person to be examined suffers from any physical or mental or other
disabilities, it does not mean that such person cannot be successfully
7. The polygraph is known to be more accurate than most other lie detectors as it
uses at least five primary body reactions at a time, unlike other devices which use
only one.
8. The technique of using control question as in case of a polygraph has proven to
have given more effective results.
9. Laboratory studies conducted have concluded that the reliability of a polygraph is
about 90%. This accuracy is dependent on the polygraphist as well.
10. It must be ensured that the person to be examined is in his best physical and
mental condition.
11. Such person must be adequately rested and fed. A person must not be tested
immediately, unless there is an absolute necessity.
12. Where a person has been physically abused or excessively hurt than what was
required at the time of his arrest, he is not fit to be tested.
13. The person to be tested must continue his regular intake of drugs, medicines
(including tranquilizers) and alcohol both before and after the test.
14. The person must be made to realise that the polygraphist has a scientific and
impartial attitude and is only seeking the truth.
15. The theory underlying a polygraph test is that the autonomic nervous system of a
person undergoes physiological changes when he is being tested.
16. Certain physiological changes which are monitored are blood pressure, heart beat,
stomach breathing, chest breathing and galvanic skin response (GSR).
17. A blood pressure cuff like one used by physicians is used to monitor blood
pressure and heart beat.
18. Pneumograph tubes fastened to a persons chest and abdomen are used to measure
changes in the chest breathing and stomach breathing of a person by monitoring
the expansions in the persons abdomen and chest.
19. Finally, some attachments are fastened to a persons fingers to monitor a minute
electric current flowing through the persons body or GSR.

20. Physiological changes occurring in the body are recorded simultaneously by a
continuously moving chart.
21. An average polygraph test takes about 2 hours to be completed.
22. It comprises of two stages- the pretest interview and the actual testing.
23. During the pretest interview, the person is mad aware of the questions he will be
asked. Herein, he practices answering the questions in the same manner as they
will b answered in the test.
24. Thereafter, there are three tests conducted by the polygraphist, with an interval
between each.
25. Two special tests are also conducted in order to ascertain whether the person may
be tested.
26. After these five tests, the polygraphist can come to the conclusion as to whether
the person tested is being truthful or not.
27. Where the polygraphist finds out that the person is lying, he shall ask him to
provide an explanation for the same.
28. Where no explanation is provided and the circumstances of the case so demand,
the polygraphist can administer the peak-of-tension tests to the person being
tested in order to obtain additional tracings.
29. In Frye v. United States, the Federal Court of Appeals of the District of Columbia
rejected the admissibility of results of polygraph tests as evidence.
30. It was stated that expert evidence relating to scientific techniques required such
technique to have acquired general acceptance and scientific recognition.
31. Accordingly, the deception test used was rejected.
32. The ruling in Frye was followed in several subsequent cases, whether such
evidence was put forth by the prosecution or the accused.
33. However, in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals Inc., it was held by the
United States Supreme Court that Federal rules of evidence which include the
evidence given in the course of expert testimony when scientific, technical or
other specialised knowledge is involved.
34. What must be seen is whether the expert testimony is based on scientifically valid
reasoning and methodology. Certain other factors including general acceptance
also play a major role.
35. Thus, the Frye judgment now stands overruled in the United States. Most courts
resort to either the Daubert principle or any other standard for determining the
admissibility of expert evidence.
36. Polygraph evidence is also admissible in the United States where a stipulation or
agreement has previously been signed by both parties stating that such evidence
shall be admissible.

Voice analysis

1. The voice of any person or any animal for that matter is unique, personal and
inimitable. Thus, they are easily identifiable especially where a person is standing
at very short distance from another.

2. After the development of various modes of communication such as telephones,
mobile phones, etc. it has become difficult to exactly identify the voice of people.
This has been used by criminals to their advantage.
3. However, the voice analysis technology as is being used today can easily help
identify a persons voice.
4. Voice analysis is important for the following purposes(a) Profiling of criminals
(b) Determination of integrity of utterance
(c) Enhancing the intelligibility of the utterance
(d) Transcription and analysis of the disputed utterance
(e) Identification of the speaker
5. Voice analysis is being extensively used today for tracking terrorists, spies,
corrupt officials claiming they have been framed, ransom cases, drug deals, bomb
scares, match fixing scandals, etc.
6. When we use energy to create noise, vibrations are produced in the vocal cords
and other organs such as the lungs, larynx, mouth, tongue, lips, teeth, jaws and
other parts of the face as are stimulated by the brain in this regard.
7. The nature of the sound produced depends on the number of organs involved,
their dimensions, the density of tissues, elasticity and their positioning.
8. A speech pattern is formed as the sound produced by these organs has unique
9. Language consists of phonation and articulation.
10. In phonation, acoustic signals called phenomes are created. These phenomes are
modulated to create intelligible words. This is called articulation.
11. Voice variations may either be inter speaker variations or intra speaker variations.
12. Inter speaker variations are variations in the voices of different speakers.
13. These are due to both organic (positioning of organs used in speech, etc. as seen
earlier) as well as inorganic reasons.
14. Inorganic reasons include the learning process of speech, regional differences,
social structures and level of education.
15. Intra speaker variations refer to variations in voice in the same speaker at different
points of time.
16. This may be due to various reasons such as emotions, emphasis on a particular
word, disease, mode of speech, mood of the speaker, influence of alcohol, etc.
17. Voice analysis may be done in two ways, namely by identification by persons
such as witnesses or victims and by voice analysis by recorded voice.
18. Voice analysis by recorded voice may be done by the mechanical mode, the
magnetic mode, the electronic mode and the optical mode.
19. The mechanical mode is no longer used.
20. The magnetic mode involves recording of voice in devices such as micro cassette
recorders, compact cassette recorders, reel to reel recorders, camcorder analog
audio recorder, video tape, answering machine, etc.
21. The electronic mode is most commonly used in a criminal investigation due to its
superior quality.

22. The devices used in this case include digital audio tape recorder, audio recorder,
digital computer cassette recorder, computer disc drive, semi conductor memory,
IC memory, etc.
23. The devices used in the optical mode give a very fine performance and include
CDs, CD ROMs, CD-RC, CD-RW, DVD, Mini disc, etc.
24. Speaker identification is done by the following three methods(a) Speaker Recognition through listening (SRL)
(b) Visual evaluation of Voice Spectrogram for Speaker Recognition (SRS)
(c) Automatic Speaker Recognition through computers (ASR)
25. In SRL, the voice analysts listen to the voice of the person to be identified and
come to a conclusion. It thus saves time and money.
26. This method is however not effective when the listener is already familiar with the
voice of the speaker as the brain automatically recognises the pattern of the sound.
27. However, at most times in crime situations, both experts as well as laymen are
made to identify voices which are not familiar to them.
28. The SRS involves the usage of a device called Sound Spectrograph which helps
visually represent the voice of a person by creating a graph showing the frequency
and intensity factors of the voice.
29. The spectrograph only requires a limited amount of utterance at a time, which can
be recorded in one revolution of the drum.
30. Thus, the spectrograph converts sound energy to electrical energy. The graph
which is produced is called voice print.
31. Voice prints have the same evidentiary value as finger prints. They are not
conclusive evidence. This is because there are several loopholes associated with
the same.
32. Thus, even though it may not provide positive proof by itself, it may be used as
corroborative evidence.
33. A spectrograph consists of the following parts(a) A magnetic recorder
(b) An electronic filter
(c) A rotating drum which is made up of paper and on which the spectrograph is
(d) An electronically operated stylus to record the graph
34. The process involves recording of utterances of relevant words by suspects in a
recorder which is similar to the one which recorded the disputed voice.
35. Thereafter, the spectrograph prepares a spectrogram (graph) of both the voices,
which are then compared.
36. The spectrograph involves horizontal dimensions, vertical dimensions and shade
intensity of the trace.
37. The horizontal dimension indicates the time interval between the speech signals.
38. The vertical dimensions indicate the frequency.
39. The darkness (shade intensity) indicates the intensity of the loudness of the voice.
40. In ARS, computers are used to identify, analyse and quantify certain voice
identification parameters especially speech peculiarities and voice qualities.

41. There are also several non language parameters such as the breathing pattern,
visual evidence of the speaker, etc.
42. Analysts often depend on more than one method. They mostly combine the SRL
with the ARS.



1. Hypnosis is where the subject of the hypnosis accepts the suggestion of the
hypnotist non-critically.
2. The reasoning faculties of the person under hypnosis are suppressed.
3. Hypnosis is very popular in the field of medicine. Now, it has gained importance
even in criminal investigations.
4. Certain advantages of hypnosis are as follows(a) To make victims remember things which they have forgotten
(b) To check false allegations levelled against a person
(c) To check persons who are faking injuries
(d) To ensure that the witness tells the truth
(e) To gather hidden physical evidence such as the weapon used, etc.
(f) To strengthen members of the police force, spies, saboteurs, etc.
5. However, hypnosis can also be misused in the following manner(a) It can be used to make a person commit an offence
(b) Persons may be hypnotised to give away their property, etc.
(c) It may be used to make persons give a false alibi, make false confessions,
forget certain events, etc.
6. Hypnosis depends both on the nature of the subject as well as the expertise of the
7. Women, children and nervous persons are known to respond to hypnosis better.
8. Hypnosis however has not yet become accepted totally as a technique in police
investigation in India.


1. Narco-analysis has been used by investigating officers as an alternate mode of

2. It is popularly known as the truth serum test wherein certain sedatives and drugs
are administered to the subject so as to bring out repressed feelings, thoughts and
3. It must be used only in compelling circumstances where the response of the
subject is very important.
4. Some drugs/sedatives used in narco-analysis include Seconal, Hyoscine
(scopolamine), Sodium amytal, Phenobarbital and Sodium pentathol.

5. Thiopental Sodium which is popularly known as Sodium pentathol is the most
commonly used drug in such tests.
6. It is soluble in water and is a sedative which is used as an anti-depressant.
7. If it is taken in large quantities, it may even lead to cardio-vascular depression,
ultimately leading to a state of coma.
8. In narco-analysis, 3 grams of Sodium pentathol dissolved in 3000ml of water is
administered to the subject with 10% dextrose and the help of an anaesthetist.
9. This is done over a period of 3 hours.
10. Such injection draws the subject to a state of hypnotic trance.
11. Such state is recorded both in audio as well as video cassettes and are represented
on a videograph.
12. The questions are repeated so that ambiguity in the test is reduced.
13. After the examination, the subject is allowed to rest for 2 to 3 hours.
14. The report prepared is very important in collecting evidence.
15. In India, such tests have been conducted since 2000.
16. Certain examples of cases where the test has been conducted include the Godhra
riots case (conducted at the SSG hospital in Vadodara), Stamp Paper investigation
involving the investigation of Abdul Karim Telgi and Mohd. Abdul Wahid Qadri,
examination of suspects in the Nithari case (in the Gandhinagar hospital), narcoanalysis of Abu Salem where he allegedly revealed missing links in various cases,
17. However, results of narco-analysis can seldom be admissible as evidence as the
statements are made by a person in a semi conscious state.
18. Further, tests have shown that it is possible to lie while the test is being
19. In India, results of narco-analysis are not allowed as evidence primarily due to the
fact that it violates the fundamental right to freedom against self incrimination as
under Article 20(3).
20. The test also depends on the expertise of the person conducting the test as well as
the administration of the correct dosage required for a particular person.
21. Such methods have come under increasing criticism from the public as well as the
22. The test is to be conducted by an anaesthesiologist, a psychiatrist or
clinical/forensic psychologist, an audio-videographer and supporting nursing
23. The forensic psychologist shall prepare a report as regards the revelations made
and this shall be accompanied by a CD of the same.
24. However, brain mapping and polygraph tests may be conducted as well to verify
the results of the narco-analysis.
25. Brain mapping or brain printing is another test which is carried on with the help
of an instrument called the Encephalograph.
26. When the subject is shown certain pictures related to the crime, his brain
recognises the entity and activity is created in the brain.
27. Such activity is recorded by the Encephalograph and the trace thus obtained is
called Electroencephalogram (EEG).