monogram_for_link.jpg (28730 bytes)




(July 1978, Vol -1, No -1, p. i-iv, Journal of The Indian Academy Of Forensic Medicine).

In the historical town of Goa, in 1972, a group of Scientists gathered to take part in a seminar Organised conjointly by the University Grants Commission, Government of Goa and the University of Bombay.

The gathered scientist felt that the forum be established to strengthen the discipline of Forensic Medicine in a vast country like India. The result was birth of "The Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine".

The medical profession is involved with a very heavy responsibility to handle a subject which is not an exact science nor any elaborate work has been done in the country to lay standards in the subject. Forensic Medicine as we all know, neither can be written in books nor can be learnt from books. In recent years, multiple publications are available in the market, which are all going round and round the legendary figure Dr. Modi and his contribution. The scientific observations; as I understand from one of the very senior persons in the field are always obliterated due to the fright of cross-examination in the court. The person openly confessed that he first decided the cause of death and then sat down with the book wrote down the details whether they existed or not. Thereby he was safe in the witness box.

The medical witness when he goes in the pursuit of truth should first bear it in mind that there are no national boundaries in the legal medicine. It is entirely upto his experience, maturity and standard, through which he observes, makes others observe, and deposes in the court truthfully without any consideration attached to the prosecution or defense.

It is a prayer that courts also should consider the senior people in the field as their witnesses to see through them, to understand through them, and reconstruct the observations, to wed with the circumstantial evidence. There should be more questions coming forward from the courts than from the lawyers because in between the lines, it is the court who has to understand what is the truth.

It is also high time that senior scientists in the field of Forensic Medicine should get together and put down their observations in such a manner that they could be better utilised in the carriage of justice.

In the textbook of Modi, 2Oth edition 1977 on page 32, an observation has been incorporated, based on the work of Stewart 1957, that radiological examination of ossification centers should not be placed too much reliance. Stewart 1957 indicated that the range of error might be 3 years. Such an import in a textbook like Modi create difficult situation for the expert in the court. The editor of the book who himself was a physician had no problem because he had not to face the court.

The most important age in law is 16 years in a female. As per Stewart 1957, the radiological examination would take the age of 16 to 3 years. As such the girl could be between the age of 13 and 19 years. If this has to be an expert's view, it does not deserve any comments.

The second problem is the burning topic of burns in young female in India. Such a way of ending life is peculiarly common in this country. The experts in the Medical field will have to work very hard on the subject. It is not fair to see the dead body in the post- mortem room and to opine that the death was due to burn. In such cases the post-mortem should begin by a spot examination. It is possible to connect the evidence left by the dead body with the post-mortem examination and reconstruct the circumstances.

One of the most common history given in the police requisition, in India, is in a recently married girl, that she caught fire while cooking or the pressure stove was burst. It stands to common sense that how frequently can this reasoning be accepted when happening is in every newly married girl as a cause.

It is an earnest request in the interest of justice that each State should have a medico-legal service with experienced people handling the medico-legal problems. The life and liberty of an individual involved is in question. The medico-legal field has great decisive role to play. Because of careless imprudent medico-legal opinion, if the justice is miscarried, it will be the most unfortunate event. No plea of lack of experience and training could be the cause of denial of justice. No civilised State can allow it to happen.

Thirdly, the opinion given by a senior expert who is working in the field should be reviewed by a panel of few experts in which the original expert is also a member. The basic point of consideration is to locate the truth. The effort to achieve the aim of putting one against the e other should be discouraged. It will lead the courts nowhere and truth will not be delivered.

One French medico-legalist observed "if the law has made a physician a witness he should remain a man of science. He has no victim to avenge, no guilty person to convict and no innocent people to save".

TOP                          By Prof. Heeresh Chandra

Birth of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine

Birth of Indian Academy of Forensic Medicine was on 8th April 1972, and registered at serial No. 349 under the Society Registration Act 1860 on 12th May 1972, PANJI (GOA)

Prof. Heeresh Chandra went on the Common Wealth fellowship to UK, where his work place was assigned with Prof. F.Camps, The London Hospital, White Chappel for one year in 1969-1970.

On the agenda was also the proposed visits of places of a academic excellence in Europe such as Denmark, Germany, Italy, France etc. This was aimed at proposed creation of Medico Legal Institute in the State of Madhya Pradesh India, with main objective of creation of a major Apex Research Centre, Data Generating Centre/Unit, Training Centre and provide expertise in the Subject. The guide lines were provided in one of the finest publication of Govt. of India - SURVEY COMMITTEE REPORT ON MEDICO LEGAL PRACTICES IN INDIA AND LATE Dr. BHOOSHANA RAO WAS THE CONVEYNOR. It is a splendid work and recommended to be followed as a Bible in the Subject. It brought out the pathetic conditions of the Medicolegal practices in India and suggested remedies.

Only in Madhya Pradesh, India, under the guidance of Prof. Heeresh Chandra  nearly 90% of the recommendations were implemented. The greatest hurdle was the Investigating Agency in the Home Dept. and experts from the FSL (Forensic Science Laboratory) which collected all information and implemented in the development of Forensic Science Laboratories under the investigating agencies.

Thus the Tripod of Judiciary, Forensic Medicine and Investigating Agency in the delivery of the Justice became lob-sided, tilting advantageously towards the Investigating Agency.

Nearly all the subjects in the Medicine but for Forensic Medicine has their own associations with Journals published regularly.

Prof. Heeresh Chandra from Bhopal, Dr. Franklin from Bombay and Dr. J.N. Sharma from Goa took active lead when they met often during the under graduate and post graduate examinations. Consequently, a meeting was convened by Dr. Jagmohan, Prof. of Forensic Medicine and HOD at GOA where senior teachers from all over India were invited. A resolution was passed to register the newly formed Academy at Goa and a provisional constitution was framed.

Following members were present in 1972 at Goa. This list is provisional

Dr. Bhooshana Rao (Hyderabad), Dr. J.B. Mukharjee (Calcutta), Dr. G.P. Mohanty (Cutttack), Dr.  Kanthswamy (Trivendrum), Dr. M. Ramu (Bangalore), Dr. G. Madhi (Gohati), Dr. Jeelani (Srinagar), Dr. S.B. Mathur (Jairpur), Dr.  R. K. Sharma (Jamshedpur), Dr. V.B. Sahay (Allahabad), Dr.  Kartarsings (Patiala), Dr. Bishnu Kumar (Delhi), Dr. Heeresh Chandra (Bhopal), Dr. S.M. Das Gupta, Dr. V.L. Deshpande, Dr.Rammohan, Dr.L.B. Joshi, Dr.Janaki, Dr.C.K. Parikh, Dr.K.K. Mishra

The next annual conference was scheduled to be hosted in 1973 at Bhopal, with Prof. Heeresh Chandra as organising secretary. Unfortunately he was hospitalised with Quadriplegia due to the reaction of seventh injection of anti rebic vaccine. It resulted in demylination of motor nerves and lost all movements of the limbs. Even then he continued his efforts to establish Medico legal institute and invited the First Annual Conference. With little mobility from the wheel chair, a day came when the First Annual Conference of IAFM was invited in 1976.

The conference was a great success and we could convey to our colleagues that the subject and the Dept. must be strengthen as a quasi-judicial institutions. It is this effort which saved the subject from being dismantled by other clinical Depts. They forgot that, what a dead body can reveal, the living can not because it is from the dead we learnt the truth. In Denmark 100 percent autopsies are done and the data is provided to the whole world.



The first need appeared  to generate a logo for IAFM. Prof. Heeresh Chandra designed the same with experts in the town and the result is before us.He as a founder member is utilising the same. The logo communicates the inbuilt property that the members of the IAFM must practice.

Philosophically the triangle in Logo represents three main Pillars. On the top is the truth, defining of which  assigned to the Judiciary. The bottom pillars are Honesty and Integrity which are assigned to the Medicolegal experts and investigating agency respectively. Failure and deficiency in any one of them will make this triangle collapse. On the top of the triangle is a balance which has to be maintained. This balance and this triangle is maintained by the King of the Flowers, the Lotus. In Indian mythology it is supposed to be seat of Goddess of knowledge and learning, Saraswati. All the above jointly and send consolidated  message to the people working in the profession.