Prof. SM Afzal Qadri
The recent developments in the Shopian murder and rape case have once again exposed the affairs and the wrong working of the institutions related to the administration of criminal justice in the state. The fudging of the samples collected from the victims to establish the guilt of the accused has sent shockwaves amongst the law abiding citizens of this country. Those who believe in the rule of law have now started thing that Dicy’s principle of rule of law is not applicable in this state.
The shocking statement of the doctor who has fudged the samples of the two victims has proved how the doctor has violated the Hippocratic Oath which the doctor is supposed to take at the time when he/she enters into the profession. Doctor in our society is held in high esteem. Truthfulness and honesty are the basic principles of medical profession and even medical council of India guidelines expect that a doctor will perform the duties without any fear or favour. His guidance and assistance to the court as an expert is of immense importance for reaching to a certain conclusion, but when he acts dishonestly the casualty is the truth. One of the crucial duties of a medical professional is to prepare a medical report in medico-legal cases and hand it over to the investigating agency.
One fails to understand that under what compulsions did doctor change samples and send false ones for examination in FSL. The negligence of such doctors cannot be excused on any ground, neither can they be exonerated for their professional lapses taking into consideration the magnitude of their effects on the whole nation. There are ample grounds in our legal system where such doctors can be prosecuted and punished for misleading the nation by giving false evidence. It is highly shocking to note that a person belonging to a sacred profession betrays its sanctity by misinforming court after collecting false samples and then brazenly declaring them of the victims. Couldn’t doctors thought for a moment that this fudging can never help the investigating agencies to reach out to the culprits? This speaks volumes about work culture that our doctors have adopted and the way they usually perform their duties.
There is no law in the world that accommodates forgiveness for such indifferent and insensitive doctors who have violated the very sacred oath that facilitates a respectable position and status for them in the society. Even in our state such doctors can accrue severe and exemplary punishment. Legally speaking all of them can be prosecuted for offences of conspiracy under section 12B of Ranbir Penal Code which, if proven in the court, can make them undergo severe punishments. Besides, the doctors who have deliberately concealed the facts and have not taken the samples as was needed and required for legal procedures can be punished under various provisions of the Penal law for offence of false evidence and offences under public justice.
They are also liable for fabricating false evidence and using the evidence which they know is false. They can also be prosecuted for professional negligence. But what is more important is to uncover the whole conspiracy in this case because a simple B-grade surgeon cannot dare take such a drastic step without the connivance and support of some higher-ups in the administration, who wanted to either hush up the case or make it so weak that it will not stand the scrutiny at the trial stage. The sooner this is done the better it will be to restore the peoples’ confidence in the administration of criminal justice in the state.