Is Opinion of Doctor Substantial Evidence under Law? MP HC Answers
Gwalior: The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has recently clarified that even though the opinion of a doctor is an evidence, it can rarely take the place of substantive evidence, and being opinion evidence, it cannot be conclusive by nature. Such observations came from the High Court bench comprising of Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava while dismissing a...
Gwalior: The Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has recently clarified that even though the opinion of a doctor is an evidence, it can rarely take the place of substantive evidence, and being opinion evidence, it cannot be conclusive by nature.
Such observations came from the High Court bench comprising of Justice Rajeev Kumar Shrivastava while dismissing a criminal revision plea by accused against the order of framing charges under Sections 307, 34, and 452 of IPC.
Dismissing the plea, the bench noted, "Although the opinion of doctor is relevant in view of provisions of Section 45 of Evidence Act, but that too is not conclusive."
The facts of the case relate to the complainant who along with his daughter had gone to the medical dispensary, Bhitarwar, along with police after he recorded a Dehati Nalishi stating that an accused had molested his daughter.
However, when he was in the injection room, the applicant accused entered the room with other co-accused persons who were armed with sword and hockey stick. After this, the applicant accused allegedly inflicted injury on the complainant's head by means of hockey stick as a result of which blood started oozing.
On that basis, FIR bearing Crime No.409/2020 had been lodged for offence under Sections 307, 323, 34 of IPC at Bhitarwar Police Station. Following this, the complainant was medical examined and the applicant accused was arrested and a hockey stick was recovered from his possession.
After recording statements of witnesses and completing the investigation and other formalities, challan was filed by police before the Court with charges under Sections 307/34, 452 of IPC had been framed. Hence, the revision had been filed before the High Court.
The counsel for the applicant submitted that there was no intention on the part of applicant to cause death of the complainant. The counsel further contended that as per the opinion of the doctor, the injury caused to the complainant was not sufficient for causing death in the ordinary course of nature. Therefore, there cannot be any case against the applicant accused under Section 307 read with Section 34 of IPC.
On the other hand, the counsel for the State, supported the order of framing charges and submitted that prima facie offence is made out against the applicant. It was further submitted by the State that considering medical evidence as well as statements of the complainant and witnesses, prima facie, offence is made out.
After considering the arguments presented by the parties, the High Court bench referred to the details of Section 307, 452, 34 of Indian Penal Code and several Supreme Court judgments including in the case of Union of India Vs. Prafulla Kumar Samal and another, Dilawar Balu Kurane Vs. State of Maharashtra, Sajjan Kumar Vs. Central Bureau of Investigation, State through Central Bureau of Investigation Vs. Dr. Anup Kumar Srivastava etc.
Finally, the bench also referred to the Apex Court judgment in the case of Soma Chakravarti Vs. State, wherein the top court had held that at the time of framing of charges, the probative value of material on record cannot be gone into, and the material brought on record by the prosecution has to be accepted as true. Before framing a charge, the Court must apply its judicial mind on the material placed on record and must be satisfied that the commission of offence by the accused was possible.
Referring to the facts of the case, the court took note of the contention of the applicant that the doctor had not opined that the injury was of such nature and sufficient to cause death in the ordinary course of nature.
Holding this contention to be not acceptable, the bench noted,
"Although the opinion of doctor is relevant in view of provisions of Section 45 of Evidence Act, but that too is not conclusive. The opinion of doctor is an evidence and it can rarely, if ever, take the place of substantive evidence and it cannot be conclusive because it is after all opinion evidence."
The bench also observed that in the case concerned, the accused applicant along with other co-accused persons with common intention reached the medical dispensary and inflicted injury on the head of the complainant by means of hockey stick, which is fully supported by medical evidence and evidence of witnesses.
After analyzing the material to find out if prima facie case is made against the accused, the High Court bench noted,
"On the basis of material on record, the Court could form an opinion that accused might have committed an offence. It is established that at the time of framing of charges, there is no scope to appreciate the entire evidence in details. The Court below has examined the case and found prima facie case against the applicant by which charges have been framed against him." Therefore, the bench dismissed the revision petition.
To read the case order, click on the link below.
Barsha completed her MA from the University of Burdwan, West Bengal in 2018. Having a knack for Journalism she joined Medical Dialogues back in 2020. She mainly covers news about medico legal cases, NMC/DCI updates, medical education issues including the latest updates about medical and dental colleges in India. She can be contacted at email@example.com.