While illegible scribbles on prescriptions have been the signature mark of most doctors,such indecipherable medico-legal reports (MLC) have spurred the Delhi High Court to put out a prescription of its own.
Describing a trial courts directive in this regard as laudable, Justice M L Mehta has asked the Delhi government to ensure all MLC and post-mortem reports prepared in its hospitals are computer-typed since the reports prepared by doctors were often not legible.
These reports also contain various medical terms which are either not properly spelt or are not legible. The trial courts find themselves handicapped when confronted with such MLCs and post-mortem reports. These adversely affect the administration of justice as there is a delay in understanding the reports, said the judge on Thursday.
The court said it would thus be desirable that the investigating officers,while filing chargesheets,also file along with the handwritten MLCs and post-mortem reports,their verbatim-typed or computerised version duly certified by the author of those documents or the Head of the hospital concerned.
Justice Mehta said, It is felt that this would save precious time of the court in understanding the contents of MLCs and post-mortem reports.
The judge further said when the doctors,who had prepared the MLCs and the post-mortem reports,were not available to prove their reports,then as a matter of policy,the in-charge of the hospital concerned must ensure appearance of properly trained and eligible junior or trainees doctors capable of deposing and proving those reports in court.
Justice Mehta also emphasised on the need for more Forensic Science Laboratories (FSLs) in the city. It is the experience of this court that the reports of FSLs are inordinately delayed,adversely affecting the administration of justice. Submissions of FSL reports must be expedited,say within 30 to 45 days, he said.
Justice Mehta was adjudicating a petition by the government,which challenged two orders by ASJ Aggarwal,in which he directed authorities to ensure that reports were computer-typed and that there were 12 FSLs in the city,by setting up a lab in each police districts.
The government contended the ASJ did not have the powers to issue such directives as the issues pertained to policy matters and also required additional infrastructure. Justice Mehta,however,agreed with most of the ASJs directions and asked authorities to comply with the ones which can be effected immediately.