High Court issues notice over providing practical training in forensic medicine to MBBS students

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court has issued notice to the union and the state health ministries, the Medical Council of India (MCI) and the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) on a plea challenging the existing curriculum of forensic medicine being taught to the MBBS students on the ground that it has no scope and provision for practical teaching of this subject like other clinical subjects taught to the students.
A bench of Justice B P Dharmadhikari and Justice Prasanna B Varale on Thursday issued the notice on a plea filed by Dr Indrajit Khandekar, associate professor and in-charge, clinical forensic medicine at the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (MGIMS), Sewagram. The plea is based on a study by Dr Khandekar to revamp the existing forensic medicine curriculum. The respondents have to file the reply by April 8.
Dr Khandekar’s counsel advocate Anil Kilor stated that the present forensic medicine curriculum of the MBBS course is “highly inadequate, irrational and illogical” and there is no scope for practical teaching of clinical forensic medical work and postmortem work.
“A reasonable quality medico-legal work cannot be expected from such half baked doctors when they join their duty. This is the main reason for awful quality of medico-legal work, which is violating the laws in handling the medico-legal cases and helping the accused go scot-free and leading to miscarriage of justice,” the petitioner argued.
The petitioner also pointed out shortcomings in the medico-legal examination of assault cases, recording of dying declaration, sexual violence examination, injury report preparation, informing the cases to police, preservation of stomach wash and vomited material at the time of treating poison patients, age estimation, alcoholic examination, weapon examination, burn and dowry cases, and in giving opinions in the court room.
“There is clear cut violation of various guidelines and rules framed under the laws by the medicos while handling medico-legal cases, which are helping the accused to get scot-free,” the petitioner stated, adding, “All these aspects are being taught to the students by way of only theory without any hands-on-experience by most of the departments of forensic medicine. The same situation exists for the practical training of postmortem examination. There is even no compulsory internship in forensic medicine like in other clinical subjects.”

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