Malpractices in medico-legal system helping abusers of human rights
Karachi: Proper medico-legal procedures greatly help in provision of justice to the survivors of abuse and violence, especially women and children, and malpractices in medico-legal procedure rob the affected people of swift justice, said Lawyers of Human Rights and Legal Aid (LHRLA) President Zia Ahmed Awan.
He was speaking at a data-sharing seminar on the importance of medico-legal procedure in helping survivors of violence and abuse, organised by Madadgaar, Pakistan’s first helpline for women and children at a local hotel.
He said it had been observed that proper medico-legal reports played an important role in the nabbing of culprits, as in criminal cases the decisions of courts are based on these vital reports. He said there are complaints of widespread corruption and malpractice in the medico-legal process in our country, which should be eliminated at the earliest.
He said issuance of incorrect medico-legal certificates or inordinate delay in their issuances due to corruption and bribery help the perpetrators of heinous crimes, especially against women and children, going scot-free.
Zia Ahmed Awan said that “sadly enough” the vital subject of forensic medicine had yet to get proper attention in Pakistan. He said in medical colleges and during house jobs this subject often gets less importance; that is why our hospitals lack proficient and expert medico-legal officers.
He said in the police department the forensic investigation is also not given proper focus, despite the fact that forensic probe greatly helps in effective dealing with crime and criminals.
He said the importance of medico-legal procedures in human rights-related cases could not be ignored.
In all cases of violence against women and children including murder, rape, sodomy, abuse and torture, the medico-legal reports play vital role in helping courts to come to the right decision he said.
If these reports are correct, factual, and prompt they help bringing justice to the victims, and if they are distorted, false, and belated, they save criminals from the clutches of justice. He regretted that the provincial health department had issued many notifications for improvement in the medico-legal procedure since 2001, but they were yet to be implemented in letter and spirit. He demanded a proper monitoring and evaluation system to improve the performance of medico-legal sections of the government hospitals, and to bring professional competency and ethical standards in this vital field.
Sharing the data of Madadgaar helpline for 2010, he said from January to September 2010, Madadgaar Helpline data section recorded 5399 cases of violence and abuse against women, 4377 cases against children and 2393 cases against males. He said the rising cases of human rights violation in Pakistan was a serious issue, which needed the immediate attention of all stakeholders, including the government, parliamentarians, civil society and the media.
Dr Nasir Jawaid Shiekh, EDO Health, CDGK, said the city government was focusing on improving performance of hospitals, including their medico- legal sections. He said flawless medico-legal process greatly helps the survivors of violence and abuse. He said all stakeholders should play their due role in improving performance of medico-legal sections in government-run hospitals.
Dr Hamid Jillani, MLO, ex-assistant police surgeon said medico-legal system help greatly in police investigation and solving complicated cases. He said there was need of further capacity building for MLOs and introducing modern techniques of medico legal examination in our country.
Sharjil Kharal, DIG, Forensic, said the police department had given more importance on forensic side and for this purpose a modern forensic laboratory had been established in Karachi. He said forensic
facilities were also being improved in other districts of the province. The speakers recommended updating medico-legal procedure using modern forensic science techniques for swift and more accurate results.
They called for capacity building and sensitisation of medico-legal and police officers towards the rights of women and children.
They said corruption and malpractices in the medico-legal sections of hospitals should be dealt with with an iron hand and honest and efficient officers posted in these vital sections.
Source: The News