Tamil Nadu

Youth’s death: High Court orders fresh post-mortem

The petitioner, the victim’s mother, said her son was beaten up by the police.   | Photo Credit: R. Ashok

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday ordered the conduct of a fresh post-mortem on the body of L. Manikandan, a youth from Ramanathapuram district, who died hours after being released from police custody. His family had alleged that it was a case of custodial torture.

The victim’s mother, L. Ramalakshmi, had filed the petition, seeking the conduct of a fresh post-mortem. She said her son was beaten up by the police. She also sought a probe into his death.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan, while ordering the conduct of a second post-mortem, also took note of the fact that the police personnel present before the court were not aware of the guidelines issued by the court for the conduct of post-mortems in cases involving custodial deaths.

The judge orally requested Additional Advocate-General Veera Kathiravan to intimate the Director General of Police about the guidelines, so that whenever allegations of custodial death are made, the directions are followed in letter and spirit.

The petitioner, Ms. Ramalakshmi, said on December 4, around 4 p.m., Manikandan and his friends had gone out to purchase manure for their agricultural field. She said two policemen intercepted her son’s two-wheeler near the Keelathooval Kali temple.

‘Not in stable condition’

According to her, he was beaten up and dragged to the police station. Later, she was called and asked to take him home. She said her son was not in a stable condition and was murmuring that the police had beaten him up. He died around 1.30 a.m, and his body was taken to the Mudukulathur Government Hospital. She said the post-mortem was not conducted properly and sought a fresh one.

The court said the authorities should have taken into account that only a few hours separated the youth’s release from the police station and his death, and they ought to have followed the guidelines issued by the court.

The judge said the guidelines specifically stated that in such cases, an autopsy should be carried out by two doctors with Master’s degrees in forensic medicine, and who are attached to a medical college hospital. The judge said a second post-mortem had been ordered on the sole ground that the autopsy was not conducted as per the guidelines.

The court directed the second post-mortem to be conducted at the Ramanathapuram Medical College and Hospital.

The court said a senior and experienced Deputy Superintendent of Police must carry out the investigation. It also recorded an undertaking given by the petitioner, stating that the family would receive the body following the conduct of the fresh post-mortem.

Among the guidelines issued by the court earlier is its direction to the Judicial Magistrate conducting the inquiry to ensure that the kin of the deceased is allowed to see the body and take videos and photos. No autopsy should take place before the kin sees the body.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 10:51:27 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/youths-death-high-court-orders-fresh-post-mortem/article37890482.ece

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