The Hon’ble Delhi HC on 05th April 2021, Monday in the instant case observed that the medical examination reports submitted by the jail doctors should be unambiguous and must clarify the complex medical terms used in simple language. Additionally, the Hon’ble high court also stated that the medical reports must state the history, examination findings, clinical diagnosis, and its interpretation in simpler terms thereby assisting the Hon’ble judges and the Hon’ble Court effectively.
While witnessing so, the Hon’ble Court also directed the medical examiners to be “more vigilant” while granting medical certificates to submit them as shreds of evidence before the court of law.
The Hon’ble single judge bench also mentioned that any “sketchy, wishy-washy medical documents” from any random private doctor having “ambiguous and incomplete documentation in illegible handwriting” will not be entertained by the Court in the future.
Furthermore, the Hon’ble court opined that in case any attempt is made by “questionable private doctors” to delay or use excuse by taking help of unambiguous medical documents and in the event of submitting such sketchy medical reports, the medical examiner must be held guilty of an offence under section. 192 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (hereinafter referred to as “IPC,1860”) for “fabricating false evidence”.
In the due course, the Hon’ble bench also observed that the “applications on medical grounds are now being made as a trick to get interim bail and then extend it for unspecified periods even though it is not required and thereby misleading the Hon’ble Courts”.
Soon after the Hon’ble HC benchmarked their opinion in the instant case challenging the bail granted to an accused on medical grounds due to “sketchy medical reports” given by jail authorities while granting bail. Besides this, it was also found and stated by the Hon’ble HC that the medical examination reports which are submitted by the Jail Superintendents are not clear and the medical terms used are not easily understandable by the Hon’ble bench. Additionally, the Hon’ble court also observed that the reports so submitted by the Jail authorities failed to highlight the correct pictures. However, the Hon’ble HC also emphasized that the sketchy and incomplete reports are given by hospitals/doctors which are being used for grant of bail or extension of bail.
At the outset, the accused in the instant case was granted interim bail by the Hon’ble Additional Sessions Judge (hereinafter referred to as “ADJ”) on the ground that the accused was suffering from various illnesses and critical tumour in the chest as a result of which he was not in a position to breathe properly. Subsequently, The Hon’ble HC Court while considering the two medical reports submitted by the accused observed that the Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (hereinafter referred to as “FNAC”) conducted by the jail hospital disclosed that it was the case of simple gynecomastia which means that there was no tumour and the same must have been clarified in the medical report, which was not done in the case and absence of such clarification in a medical report does not assist the Hon’ble Court, rather the report conceals vital information from the Court.
Furthermore, the Hon’ble court stated the manner of status reports to be filed by jail doctors and held that the status reports so submitted by jail doctors must be explicit, explaining the complex medical terms not only in medical jargon but also in simple language. Additionally, the Hon’ble court also mentioned that the doctors preparing the Status Reports must give their final impression and opinion as to whether the condition warrants any urgency/emergency. Moreover, the Hon’ble court also mentioned that the status report must clearly state the condition of the patient and state whether surgery is needed for that specific condition or not.
Besides this, it was also observed by the Hon’ble Court that the report from many private hospitals does not disclose the correct diagnostic terms which can be appreciated by the Hon’ble judge who does not belong to the medical background.
Opining thus, the Hon’ble Court held that “Sketchy, wishy-washy medical documents from any random private doctor with ambiguous, incomplete documentation in illegible handwriting will not be entertained in future, rather viewed seriously with suspicion.” Setting out the contents as to how medical reports must be submitted by Jail Hospitals, the Hon’ble Court held that such reports must clearly state, what is the diagnosis; Whether it can be simply treated by giving medical treatment in the Jail Hospital and If there is any urgency and if it is an emergency then the nature of emergency must be mentioned. In the case where the patient is referred to a referral hospital, such reports must state the diagnosis in simple understanding, whether the disease is treatable and with what emergency surgery and whether any investigation is required to be performed in the jail hospital.
It was noted by the Hon’ble court that the procedure where medical reports are vague and create doubt in Hon’ble judge’s mind on account of it being ambiguous, such reports must be sent for examination by a Medical Board consisting of two-three specialists from a government hospital so that they can approve or disprove such document and if it is found that the reports are only made to delay the period of bail then, such report should be viewed seriously by the Hon’ble Court, which must consider initiating appropriate proceedings. In the due course, the Hon’ble court also observed that the “Advantage is being taken of the fact that Judges are not medical experts and are therefore unable to correctly appreciate the nature of the ailments. The accused tried to get their bail extended even though they are not suffering from any serious ailments which require them to be released on interim bail.”
In continuance, the Hon’ble Court observed, “All this reeks of several lacunae at several levels including the medical personnel both at the level of jail hospital and the private doctor’s level.”