Introduction to Forensic Medicine and Law
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Forensic Medicine and Law
There are two distinct aspects of law-medicine relationship i.e., forensic medicine and medical jurisprudence. They are essentially different subjects but are closely related. Forensic or legal medicine deals with the application of medical and paramedical knowledge to aid in the administration of justice and is used by the legal authorities for the solution of legal problems.
- Forensic medicine deals almost entirely with crimes against human beings in which medical examination and evidence are required. Forensic medicine is mostly an exercise of common sense, combined with the application of knowledge and experience already acquired in the study of other branches of medical science which aims to find out the truth.
- A doctor may be called to testify as an ordinary witness who saw an incident and as the medical practitioner who treated the patient and as an expert to give his opinion on the matter of science. The doctor is called as an expert to testify under section 45 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
- The medicolegal aspects of any case must always be secondary to life saving treatment of the patient and the doctor should always learn to look from the medicolegal standpoint upon such his cases as are likely to become the subject matter of judicial investigation.
- Medicine and law have been related from the earliest times and the bonds which united them were religion, superstition and magic. In 4th Century B.C, Many in treatise Manusmriti laid down various laws including punishment for various sexual and other offences and recognized mental incapacity due to intoxication, illness and age.
- The field of forensic medicine is an important part of the criminal justice system in the entire world. An expert in the field of forensic medicine is required to carry out all medical aspects related to the law and testify for the same.