Fed up of summoning doctors to decipher medico-legal reports, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad high court has ordered that computer printed reports be provided along with the original handwritten reports.
Making the observation on Friday, a division bench of justice Ajai Lamba and justice D K Singh said the unreadable handwritten reports, produced before the courts in every other case, act as a hindrance in effective adjudication.
However, the printed report will have to be signed by the author as a true copy of the original or by some other authorised signatory, after its comparison with the original, the court said.
It would also form part of the police report at the time of conclusion of the investigation, the court added.
Despite imposing costs to be recovered from the salary of a number of doctors, they have not been recording medico-legal reports/injury reports and post-mortem reports in readable and clear handwriting, the bench said.
Hence in every other case, the court has to summon the doctor for reading out the medico-legal reports for the benefit of effective adjudication, it added.
"Summoning a doctor simply for reading the report authored by him for bad handwriting does not make administrative sense," the court said while disposing of a writ petition challenging a First Information Report.
"We hereby take judicial notice of the fact that a doctor in a government medical facility is required to examine a large number of patients in a day."
"If for every hearing in revision jurisdiction, bail jurisdiction before the Court of Magistrate, Court of Sessions or the High Court or in appellate jurisdiction, government medical practitioner is required to appear, the work of the doctor in the hospital shall suffer and a large number of patients would be deprived of the services of such medical specialist," the court said.
Reiterating that the relevance of medico-legal reports in cases of injury, homicide or suicide is enormous, the bench said, "The medical reports, however, are written in such shabby handwriting that they are not readable and decipherable by advocates or Judges."
The bench had earlier directed the medical department that the doctors must prepare legible medical reports with clear depictions and on HC's directions the DG (Medical and Health Services) had also issued a circular on November 8, 2012, but to no avail.
In recent days, the bench summoned many doctors for reading the illegible reports and later imposed a cost upon them also so that the doctors should mend their ways but the situation did not improve.
Hearing the petition moved by one Arjun Singh, the court had to yet again summon a doctor from Amethi Community Health Centre (CHC) for reading the injury report.
Coaxed with the exercise to summon the doctor, the bench directed the concerned state authorities to avail computers and printers for preparing typed copy of every original report.
The bench has also summoned the compliance report.
(With inputs from agencies.)