Updated: Saturday September 08, 2012/AsSabt Shawwal 22, 1433/Sanivara Bhadra 17, 1934, at 09:00:32 PM

Course Contents:

1.      Medical Jurisprudence (with reference to autopsy and injuries).

Books Recommended:

1.      Medical Jurisprudence & Toxicology by Dr. Moin-ud-Din and Mian Zahoor-ud-Din.

2.      Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology by Dr. S. Siddiq Husain and N. Pervaiz Ahmed Buttar.

Medical jurisprudence means knowledge of medical science for legal purposes. There are two types of laws, i.e., civil and criminal. Criminal law deals with hurt, death, and purely with human body. Some crimes are committed to cover actual offence like self induce. Some time a man is killed with injury and put into water or fire to conceal its evidence.

Importance of medical jurisprudence: This science is used in the following matters:

1.      Right investigation: Body gets lose when injury is inflicted to it. It requires proper fixation of liability on the part of offender.

2.      Punishment: Proper investigation helps in the punishment to the offender.

3.      Involvement: This science discriminates, the person actually involved and one who is wrongly charged.

4.      Self-defence: Person maliciously involved in crime may put the results of the reports or laboratory in his defence.

5.      Acquitance: Medical jurisprudence may get acquitted the person involved wrongly in an offence.

Terms, which are used in this subject, are as follows:

1.      Physiology: Knowledge, which deals with structure of human body, is called physiology or anatomy. It also deals with the functions or system of the organs of body during the time of health. There may be group of organs, which perform or help in performance of single function. A man eats food, his body absorbs and digests it and finally it is made part of the body.

2.      Vicera: It is the function of single organ.

3.      Pathology: It is the function of organs during the disease. It is knowledge and study of diseases.

4.      Histology: It is normal and abnormal system of internal body. It is the study of body tissues.

5.      Microscopy: It is part of histology.

6.      Biochemistry: It is examination of the samples taken from human body like blood, urine, sliva etc. The study of chemicals processes in organisms.

7.      Cutameous: Part of bisep, which is inner part and trisep, which is outer part.

8.      Pharmacology: In normal person medication may react in term of fever. It deals with the action of medicines, in different parts of human body during health. Science of properties and values of medicinal drugs.

9.      Therapeutics: Branch of medicine dealing with healing remedies.

10.  Toxicology: It is reaction of over-dosage. Science of poisonous (toxic) substances.

11.  Endotoxin: Internal poison, internal toxin.

12.  Medial line of body: Line, which divides body into two equal parts.

13.  Cephalic side: Side, which is towards head. Pertaining to head.

14.  Distil side: Side, which is away from head.

15.  Proximal part: It is a part of body, which is towards body attached or fixed or near to body.

16.  Limbs: They are fixed parts of the body. Projecting appendage of the body, arm, leg, wing, large, or main branch of a tree, mischievous child. Injured part of body.

17.  Trunk of body: Two parts of body linked with it are limbs. Tubular limb on the face of an elephant.

18.  Heart: Crdium is called heart. Bodily organ which pumps blood.

19.  Lung: Lungs are called pulmon. Internal organ responsible for transferring oxygen into the bloodstream.

20.  Head: Head contains skull and face. Skull contains brain. Uppermost part of the body containing the brain.

21.  Face: It is apart from brain. Part of the body with the eyes, nose, and mouth.

22.  Moveable part of brain: It is fixed in skull. Main organ of the central nervous system.

23.  Vertebra (singular) or vertebrae (plural) are 33 or 34 in numbers: Each of the section of the backbone.

24.  Peritoneum: It is a layer of connected tissues of abdominal organs with each other. Serous membrane lining the abdominal cavity.

Neck contains seven vertebrae. First vertebra is called cervical atlis and second one is called cervical axis.

Next twelve vertebrae are called thoracic, next five linoler, next five pelvis, next four or five are called coccyx.

Body of trunk is divided in two portions, thoracic and abdominal. Basic structure is based on bones. Every bone contains joints, which help in locomotive.














(inner part)


(sensitive part of skin)


(outer part)


Sub-coetaneous connective tissue.

Renal Kidney

Gastrium Stomach

Cardium Heart.

Inter stitial space.

Pulmon Lungs

Pericardium which covers the heart.

Pericardial fluid.

Plura Layer of the lungs which covers.

Synovial fluid It is fluid, which rests in between bones.

Brain Menengies.

Dura Meter Spine. Part of the term dura mater membrane which covers the brain and spinal cord.

C. S. F. (Cerebro brain Spinal Fluid).

Lever Hepatum.

Corner Court: An officer with the duty of inquiring into the matter of death of any person who is slain or dies in suspicious circumstances, or in prison. In Pakistan a Coroner is an officer appointed by the Government to hold an enquiry of deaths suspected as unnatural and suspicious in his jurisdiction and only Karachi city possess Coroners. In other towns District Magistrates and other Magistrates are ex-officio coroners, although they seldom act as such. Coroners Court is a Court of enquiry and not a Court of trial.

Duties of a Coroner: Following are the duties of Coroner:

1.      Enquiry of unnatural deaths: He is responsible to hold enquiry in a case where dead body lying in his jurisdiction, in those cases mode of death is sudden and unnatural.

2.      Enquiry of suicide: This Court holds enquiry where mode is death is suicide or homicide (killing during self-defence or justifiable). Manslaughter is a killing due to irresistible impulsion while murder is unlawful and unjustifiable killing of human being.

3.      Enquiry of accident and poisonous: Holding of enquiry of deaths caused in accidents and by poison.

4.      Enquiry of roadside accident: Where any accident is happened at roadside, it also comes under the jurisdiction of Coroner Court. This Court holds enquiry on such accidents.

5.      Enquiry of police custody or in school: If death is occurred during police custody, in the Court of Law, in jail, while asylum, or in certified school, Coroner Court holds enquiry to find out the reasons of the death.

6.      Order for postmortem: This Court may also order for the postmortem or may call medical man to conduct such thing so that root cause of the death may be found out.

7.      Summoning medical personnel: Coroner Court may summon the medical personnel who have conducted postmortem so that they may give evidence. They may be called in coroner Court.

8.      Order for identification: This coroner Court may order for the identification of the dead body.

9.      Appointment of deputy coroner: When coroner temporarily leaves the Court due to any reasonable cause such as fever, may appoint deputy coroner to continue the functioning of the Court.

Difference between Coroner and Magistrate Courts: Both of the courts are different to some extent. Differences are highlighted as under:



Coroners Court

Magistrates Court

1.      Type of Court:

It holds mere enquiry.

It is a Court of trial.

2.      Presence of Accused:

Presence of accused is not necessary during the enquiry.

Presence of accused is legal requirement during trial.

3.      Punishment:

Coroner Court mere conducts enquiry by cannot impose fine or punishment.

Upto the extent of jurisdiction, Magistrate imposes fine and punishment.

4.      Contempt of Court:

This Court does not follow the rules of contempt of Court but if contempt is committed within the precincts (area) of Court, Court may punish the offender.

Every contempt is liable to punish regardless the area of commission of offence. Magistrate has power to punish offenders.

Difference of inquest (enquiry): Inquest of both coroner and magistrate Court is different to some extent such as:



Coroners inquest

Police inquest

1.      Investigating officer:

It is superior inquest than of police because expert person conducts it.

Qualification of medicine and law is not obligatory where police officer inquests.

2.      Place:

Uptill now it held only in Karachi and all the other areas are so far excluded.

It is not held in Karachi. All the rest of Pakistan is subject of it.

3.      Informing Magistrate:

Person who conducts the inquest is not required to inform Magistrate the inquest.

Police has to inform first, Magistrate then inquest is started.

4.      Witnesses:

Jury helps in reaching to conclusion. Witnesses are not required to sign the statement.

Jury helps chosen at random and require to sign the report.

5.      Warrant of arrest:

For the purpose of inquest he can issue warrant of arrest of the accused.

Only Court can issue warrant where police is involved. Police itself cannot issue warrant. Police can arrest accused only where offence is cognizable.

6.      Summoning of doctor:

Whenever presence of doctor becomes necessary, it may call doctor to give evidence.

Police cannot call doctor for evidence.

7.      Exhumation:

He can order for unearth or disclosed of the grave.

Police cannot order for the exhumation.

8.      Analysis of viscera:

He can direct analysis of any of the organs or of their contents.

He cannot direct the analysis of viscera.

Conduct money: Court pays this amount to medical practitioner to cover his travelling expenses while coming for evidence. In case conduct money does not cover the expenses, doctor may point out its inadequacy. In criminal cases conduct money is offered after the evidence is recorded.

Exhumation (unearths or disclosed of grave): When any unnatural death is happened and dead body is put into earth to conceal the causes of death then examination of dead body is required to determine the causes of death and to fix the liability to accused. Grave is disclosed and dead body is taken and examined for the suspicion of a death because of poisoning or any other foul play.

Order of exhumation: Only District Magistrate, Coroner, or Sub-Divisional Magistrate can pass such order for the disclosure of grave. A police officer is not authorized to pass such orders. Exhumation is conducted during the presence of Magistrate and not in the presence of police officer. This function can be performed only day light. To start work in evening or night is prohibited. Preferable time for the exhumation is before the commencement of body decomposition. In hot climatic conditions, dead body undergoes decomposition soon. As the time passes, required results become quite difficult.

Time limit for exhumation: Pakistan and England do not follow any time limit for the purpose of exhumation. But other countries, such as:

1.      France allows 10 years,

2.      Scotland provides 20 years, and

3.      Germany permits 30 years for the disclosure of grave.

Identification: It is determination or establishment of a person either living or dead by recognizing him by certain characteristics which are unique for him, i.e., finger print etc. To identify a thing or person is to prove that the thing or person produced or shown is the one in question in the proceedings.

Need of identification in living persons: Identification is necessary in the living persons in following circumstances:

1.      All medico-legal cases.

2.      Absconding (escape or run away) criminals and soldiers.

3.      Accused of murder.

4.      Accused of assault of rape.

5.      Mixing up of newborn babies.

6.      Children who have been lost.

7.      Adults who have lost their money due to any cause.

8.      Property claims.

9.      Insurance purposes.

10.  Claim of pensions.

1.      Importance of fingerprint:

a)      Recognition:

b)      Determination of liability:

c)      Punishment to offender:

d)     Two matcher in two millions:

2.      In what cases:

a)      Theft:

b)      Murder:

c)      House breaking:

d)     Suffocation:

3.      Methods:

a)      Layer of printers ink:

b)      Live scan:

4.      When conducted:

a)      To determine offender:

b)      To determine offence:

While conducting an examination for identification it should be told very clearly that facts can go against the person.

The consents should not be taken in front of the police officers. It is very essential to obtain the consent of the person before the conduct of examination. The person can refuse of submit himself for examination.

Need of identification in dead persons: Identification is necessary in the dead persons in following circumstances:

1.      Explosions.

2.      Fires.

3.      Railway or plane accidents.

4.      Floods.

5.      A death where foul play is suspected.

Identification of race: Identification of race is important when people of different races are present as in air crashes, railway accidents, and in unclaimed dead bodies found on roads. In Pakistan the main differentiation is between a Hidnu and Muslim, the latter is circumcised (remove the foreskin of males) whereas the former is not.

Following points may help in identification of dead persons:

1.      General look of the person.

2.      Cephalic index.

3.      Clothes.

4.      Complexion.

5.      Scalp hair (skin of the head excluding face).

6.      Eyes.

7.      Lips.

8.      Tuft (cluster of hairs).

Identification of sex: Determination of sex in living persons is no problem at all. It is easy in normal cases, from external examination, but difficult in cases of hermaphroditism, concealed sex, advanced decomposed bodies, skeletons, and sometimes in a child with un-descended testicles. It is required in the following cases:

1.      For simple identification in the living or dead person.

2.      For the purpose of heir-ship, disposal of property, marriage, education, and liability for military service.

3.      In case of impotence, rape, legitimacy, divorce, paternity, etc.

Examination should be thorough (a) of external genitalia and (b) internal bimanually and by rectal palpation and microscopy of the gonads. If only the anterior abdomen is present and external genitalia have decomposed, their distribution of hair may give a clue to the sex.

Identification of age: Identification of age is classified into two broad groups, i.e., identification in intrauterine life and identification in extra-uterine life.

The estimation of age is only possible with some certainty upto 25 years. After that there is little on which to base an accurate estimation of age. Certain retrogressive changes may aid in later life, but it is more or less a guess.

1.      First month: Ovum is inch in diameter and is very difficult to identify.

2.      End of second month: The ovum diameter is inch. Fingers and head may be seen. The neck is not formed.

3.      Third month: Foetus is well developed and is 3 4 inch long. Neck is formed. Limbs are well developed. Fingers and toes are visible. Sex differentiation is not present.

4.      Fourth moth: Size is 5 to 6 inch. Sex differentiation is possible. Eyebrows are absent. Umblicus is very near the symphysis pubis.

Quickening is a subjective feeling where the mother feels kicking movements of the foetus inside her.

In primi-gravida it appears at 18 20 weeks.

In multi-gravida it appears at 16 20 weeks.

Importance of quickening: Punishment given to the mother for killing the baby is more if quickening had already appeared at that time. Quickening is a sign of foetal life but much importance cannot be attached to this because its time of appearance is not constant. It varies with the individuals.

5.      Fifth month: Size of foetus is 7 8 inch. Ossification centers starts appearing calcaneum shows a centre of ossification, which on transverse section looks, like a small pinpoint haemorrhagic spot. Later on, it occupies the greater part of the end of the bone. Ossification centre appears in the upper division of the sacrum. Eyebrows are absent. Meconium is present in the stomach.

6.      Sixth month: Size of the foetus is 10 11 inch. Ossification centers in all four divisions of the sternum. Eyebrows start forming. Eyelids are adherent as earlier. Testis (in male) lies near the kidney. Meconium comes into the upper part of the small intestine. The jejunum is full.

7.      Seventh month: Size of foetus is about 14 inch. Ossification centre appears in the talus bone. Eyelids are not adherent, eyes can be opened and eyelashers have started forming. Lanugo hairs are present on the scalp. Vernix caseora is present. Testis starts descending. Usually it is near the internal inguinal ring. Meconium is present upto the ascending colon.

8.      Eight-month: Last piece of the sacrum shows the presence of an ossification centre. Hairs are present all over the body and are darker and longer. In males the left testis descends. In females the vulva is open. Nails are present near the fingertips. Umblicus is midway between the symphysis pubis and the ziphisternum. Meconium is present upto the pelvic colon. Foetus is 18 inch long.

9.      Ninth month: Size is greater than 18 inch. Ossification centre appears in the lower end of femur. Scalp shows small heir inch long. Subcutaneous pad of fat is present below the skin. There is no wrinkling of foetal skin. The foetus is like a well-developed child.

10.  At the tenth month: Meconium fills upto the anal canal. Nails project beyond the fingers. Ossification centers appears in the upper end of Tibia humerus and the cubiod bone.

Medico-legal importance of age: Crimes, which come u/ss 82 & 83 of Pakistan Penal Code, are subject of crime in addition to other offences. Medical man is called upon to give opinion on age in the following cases:

1.            Identity: Identity or identification is the determination or establishment of the individuality or a person. The necessity for the identification of individuals is a matter of every day occurrence. It may be necessary in a living person and dead person.

2.            Criminal responsibility: A child under 7 years is presumed by law to be incapable of committing an offence and is therefore exempt from punishment except u/s 140 of Railway Act (wrecking or attempt to wreck a railway train).

A child above 7 years and below 12 years is presumed to be capable of committing an offence if he has attained sufficient maturity of understanding to Judge of the nature and consequences of his conduct on that occasions. Law presumes this maturity of understanding, unless contrary is proved by defence.

A child under 12 years cannot give a valid consent, say for a Surgical operation for his written consent should be taken from the parent or guardian.

3.            Marriage contract: A boy or a girl, who has not attained puberty, is not competent to enter into a contract for marriage but he or she may be contracted in marriage by his or her guardian. In the absence of evidence to the contrary a Muslim girl is presumed to have attained puberty at the age of fifteen (raised to sixteen by Family Laws Ordinance). Age of boy must be 18 years for contract of marriage for arranged marriage.

A boy below 21 years of age and girl below 18 years of age cannot have a marriage by civil rights.

4.            Kidnapping: Offence of kidnapping consists in taking any minor under 16 years of age if a male or under 18 years of age if a female out of the keeping of his or her lawful guardian, without the order that such person may be murdered or subjected to grievous hurt or slavery is punishable with enhanced punishment.

To constitute an offence of procuring a girl for purposes of prostitution, illicit intercourse her age should be less than 18 years.

5.            Abduction: If a person compels another by force or induces by deceitful means to go from one place to another, he would be guilty of abduction. Under our law abduction is not an offence by itself, it must be done with one of the intentions set out in Ss. 364 to 366 of the Pakistan Penal Code the intention being that the person abducted may be either murdered or be secretly and wrongfully confined or when the person abducted is a woman shall be compelled to marry against her will or may be forced to illicit intercourse. Age of boy should be under 16, of girl, under 18. To import a girl from a foreign country, for prostitution her age should be below 21 years.

6.            Rape: Rape is sexual intercourse with a woman without her consent or against her will. Under our law a woman less than 16 years of age can never be a consenting party. The word woman denotes a female human being of any age if the wife is under 15 years of age and is not a consenting party, the husband may be guilty of rape on his wife.

7.            Attainment of majority: A person becomes major when he completes 18 years of age. This period of 18 years gets extended to 21 years if his property has been under the superintendence of a Court of Wards or if a Court of justice has appointed a guardian. At this age he gets all the civil rights of a citizen and can sell or buy property but he gets the right to vote only at 21 years but present government has reduced the age of voter from 21 to 18 years.

A minor is incapable of selling his property or making a valid Will or serving on jury.

8.            Competency as a witness: Under our law every person is competent to testify unless he is prevented by immature understanding or defective intellect from comprehending the question put to him and is incapable of giving rational answers. Intellectual capacity is the only test and if a person can give a rational account of what he has seen or heard or done at a particular moment his competency is established. The only grounds of incompetence that the law recognizes are those that arise from defect in intellect on the part of the witness, viz. that arises from infancy, lunacy, drunkenness, etc. If due to old age, illness, emotional stress, etc., he is notable to understand the questions put to him he is not allowed to give evidence.

9.            Eligibility for employment: For government service ordinary limit is 25 years. For Pakistan Health Service age is 35 years. Factory Act prescribes 18 years.

No child is allowed to work in factory, if he is below 14 years, and no person below 17 years is allowed to work in a mine.

Adolescents (young, immature) are those who are between 15 to 18 years and children are those who are below 15 years.

Standing for election to National or a Provincial Assembly is not less than 25 years.

10.        Judicial Punishments: The punishments to which offenders are liable under the penal code are, death, transportation, imprisonment which is either rigorous, that is with hard labour, or simple, forfeiture of property, and fine. At the time when penal code was enacted, sentence of transportation meant transportation beyond the seas. But since the abolition of the penal colony (Andaman Islands), a prisoner sentenced to transportation is kept in one of the jails in Pakistan where he is dealt within the same manner as a prisoner sentenced to rigorous imprisonment.

A person who commits a crime but is below the age of sixteen is termed as a juvenile offender and death sentence is usually not ordered to such persons. Such persons are tried by the juvenile courts and are sent to reformatory jails till they attain the age of eighteen. After that they can be transferred to regular jails.

A youthful offender may also be committed to the care of his parents who would have to fill a bond that they would be responsible for his well-being and good behaviour for at least a period of three years.

There is no provision of law that sentence of death shall be passed on a person of or above 16, but not more than 18 years of age, though it is very rarely that murderer under 18 is sentenced to death.

11.        Infanticide (killing of mature baby before birth): The charge of infanticide fails if it is proved that foetus was below 6 months of pregnancy, as an infant born at this period is not capable of a separate existence after birth. Where infant became mature and thereafter he is killed before birth comes under infanticide.

12.        Criminal abortion: It is necessary to find age of foetus and mother to find whether mother has passed the child bearing age or otherwise.

If the abortion is made before six months of pregnancy then it shall not be criminal charge.

How the medical certificate is made: Following are the requisites of medical certificate:

1.      Written application: Person desirous to have Medical Certificate to know the age must submit written application duly signed.

2.      Reasoning: Application must include the purpose for which Medical Certificate is required indicating age.

3.      Consents of individual: If the person under examination is below 12 years, his guardian shall give consents for the determination of age. If person under examination is above 12 years, he himself may give consents.

4.      Presence of female attendant: Where female is under examination by a male doctor, a female attendant other than relative must be present. This is protection, which is provided to avoid any expected outrage by male doctor.

5.      Undressing method: Male doctor cannot undress female for examination. Only she herself or female doctor or nurse may undress her.

6.      Presence of police: Policeman or Policewoman may present during examination accordingly, but relatives are not allowed to be present.

How the medical report is written: Following are the contents of the Medical Report:

1.            Name of the person examined: Report includes the name of the person who is examined.

2.            Father or husbands name: Report also includes the name of father or husband of the person examined.

3.            Age stated by person under examination: A person when applies for age determination states his age which he knows or believes. It must be made part of medical report.

4.            Address of person: Person under examination where resides must be mentioned in medical report.

5.            Date and time of examination: Date and time of examination is important and are used later to prove or disprove of the findings of the examiner.

6.            Menstrual or onset of menstrual history in case of female: Where female is under examination, her state of manses also be mentioned in medical report.

7.            Findings: Doctor mentions the findings, which he has found during examination.

8.            Opinion on the basis of findings: Mere mentioning of findings is insufficient. Doctor has to set his opinion on the base of findings in report.

9.            Complexion and features: Colour and features of body are important in determination of age and must be included in report.

10.        Hair and its distribution: Hair resists putrefaction and is hence important in identification. Africans have cotton wool like hair, whereas Pakistanis have dark and fine hair.

11.        Anthropometry: It is measurement of the human body and its proportions. This consists in taking the measurements of various parts of the body and from them to identify the person. This system is used in identifying criminals.

12.        Finger and footprints: The finger, thumb, and footprints of two individuals are not identical. This fact is helpful in identifying criminals. The foot and fingerprints appear at the 4th month of the intrauterine life and remain constant throughout life.

13.        X-rays and ECG: Identification on the basis of X-rays can help when there is a known abnormality in a person, e.g., dextrocardia (condition in which the heart is on the right side of the body). This can be differentiating feature from a person of similar identification.

14.        Amount of illumination required for identification: The amount of illumination present affects the identification of a person. A stranger cannot be recognized in less light. A flash of light may be enough for identifying a person as well as daylight. It is possible to identify a person in the flash of a firearm. In moonlight with a full moon a person can be identified if he is within 17 yards distance or even more in cases of very familiar people. In the light of a lantern one can identify a person only within two feet distance. In the light of lamppost a person can be identified even at a distance of 50 100 yards.

Syncope (unconsciousness): It may have following causes:

1.      Anaemia, due to sudden and excessive hemorrhage (lose blood) either external, or internal.

2.      Asthenia (weakness) from the deficient power of the heart muscle, e.g., fatty degeneration, aortic regurgitation, myocardial infarction, and certain poison, etc.

3.      Shock by inhibiting the action of heart as sudden fright (horror, terror), blows on the head or epigastrium (solar plexus), drinks, a large quantity of cold water when in a heated condition, sudden evacuation (removal or discharge) of natural or pathological fluids from body, etc. Sudden pressure on the carotid sinuses in the neck.

4.      Symptoms of exhausting diseases: Face and lips pale (colorless, bleach, or white). Pupils dilated (full, increase), cold perspiration (sweat, wetness), feeling of sinking, restlessness, air hunger, noises in ears, gasping (struggle for breathing) respiration (breathing), nausea, and may be vomiting. Low blood pressure pulse slow and weak in anemia and rapid in asthenia, slight delirium (insanity, madness), insensibility and convulsions (upset) before death. In collapse, the patient is conscious.

Postmortem appearances: Heart contracted and chambers empty, when death due to anemia. Both chambers contain blood in death due to asthenia, lungs, brain, and abdominal organs are usually pale.

Death: Shapiro has defined death as the irreversible loss of the properties of the living matter and he made a definite distinction between the properties of the whole person and those of his component parts. He holds when the properties of the whole person are irreversibly lost, the person is legally dead and there can be no objection to the removal and preservation of the living matter in his component (basic, fundamental) parts, as cornea, etc. How difficult it is to decide, whether irreversible changes have occurred is shown by the account of the revival of a boy, who had been under water for twenty minutes and suffered apparently irreversible changes and yet survived with complete recovery.

Hanging: It is a condition where there is constriction (tightness, stricture, squeezing) of the neck because of a ligature (connection, link, tie) around the neck, the constricting force being the weight of the body or of head.

Judicial hanging: In cases where a long rope is used for hanging and the victim is suddenly dropped from a height of 5 to 7 feet resulting in a fracture dislocating of the cervical vertebra. This compresses the medulla oblongata causing immediate stoppage of respiration. Usually the second and third cervical vertebra re involved.


Kinds of Injuries





































Mechanical Injuries

Thermal Injuries

Chemical Injuries

Other Forms








































Due to Cold

Due to Heat

Corrosive Acids

Corrosive Alkalis
























Fire Arm


Due to Cold













Frost Bite

Trench Foot

Immersion Foot


Due to Heat










Scalds (burning with liquid or water)

Wound: It is a solution of the natural continuity of any of the tissues of body, both externally or internally caused by violence or traumatism (shock).

Dissolution of the natural continuity of any tissue of the body is known as wound.

Injury u/s 44 Pakistan Penal Code: Any harm whatever illegally caused to any person in body, mind, reputation, or property is called injury. Harm caused to body by slap or club etc. is injury.

Suffocation: It is that form of death, which results from the exclusion of air from the lungs by means other than compression of the neck. Where passage of respiration is blocked such as mouth or nose by means of lose of oxygen is suffocation.

1.      Smothering (stuffy, heavy, closure of breathing): It is closure of mouth and nostrils by hand or any other material. The inexperienced mothers may cause suffocation. The infant is brought close to the chest while suckling. Rarely it is homicidal.

2.      Gagging (binding of mouth) or choking by a foreign body: This most often accidental due to meat particles, bone, peas, or secretions, aspirated from the gastrointestinal tract to the respiratory tract causing partial asphyxia.

3.      Pressure on chest: Overlaying of an infant, by its mother during sleep. This is accidental and rarely homicidal. When homicidal, signs of struggle are evident. Compression of chest results in injury to the chest together with fracture of ribs.

4.      Traumatic (fearful, alarming, awful) Asphyxia: If pressure on chest is sudden which results in instantaneous (immediate, quick, instant) death, this is called traumatic asphyxia. This is often seen in railway accidents. Usually the upper part of the body is bluish with a line of demarcation, below which it is normal. It is also caused by the pressure on chest as being crushed in a crowd or fall of a heavy wall, etc.

5.      Inhalation of irresperible gases: Inhalation of irrespirable gases, e.g., CO, CO2 etc.

Procedure of examining an injured person and medico-legal report of wound: Following steps are to be taken in the examination of injured person and preparation of medico-legal report:

1.      It is better that the place of the incident to be examined by the medical person who has examined the injured person with the object to issue medico-legal report/ certificate. But practically due to certain reasons it may not be possible.

a)      Non-availability of medical officer.

b)      Complicated criminal procedure.

c)      Emergency/danger of life of an injured person.

d)     Other customary or unavoidable necessary circumstances etc.

2.      During the course of examination of injury, the following points should be taken into consideration.

a)      Number and nature of injuries, i.e., each injury should be noted as abrasion or incised wound or fracture or dislocation and it should to be mentioned consecutively and should be numbered consecutively.

b)      Place of each injury should be carefully noted.

c)      Size, shape, and direction should be observed and condition of each should be noted.

3.      Record regarding classification of injury such as sample, grievance, or dangerous should also be mentioned, and

4.      Any detection regarding suicide, homicide, accidental, or any suspicion regarding these may also be observed and noted because in the Court of law medical jurist may be asked that whether the injuries are suicidal, homicidal, or an accidental.

Basic data for preparation of report: The necessary information to be recorded about the patient may include:

1.      Name, age, and sex of victim.

2.      Address.

3.      Date, time, and place of examination.

4.      Identification mark of patient.

5.      Height and weight of patient.

6.      Statement of the injured person and in case of death of the victim, the cause of the death must be recorded alongwith postmortem report.

The above report must also show record regarding:

1.      Number of samples collected.

2.      Contents collected.

3.      Any smear or slides prepared/made for microscopic examination. All that must be properly sealed and a copy of these records must be available of the hospital concerned.

All these samples or contents are presented for laboratory or chemical examination and reports submitted to police are given to concerned person and must be signed by medical personnel and dated. Any injury or wound kept under observation for which final opinion was not given must be expressly recorded and the same must be completed before filing report to the Court for further proceedings.

When postmortem is conducted? What is its importance in criminal trial? What is postmortem examination? Draw an outline of postmortem. Which types of deaths necessitates it? Discuss in detail. What are the objectives of postmortem examinations?

Introduction: In the present age of scientific knowledge and technology, medical jurisprudence has got great importance in civil and criminal cases. With the help of medical science and process of postmortem we can know about the cause of the death and can identify dead person. Forensic medicine plays an important role in guarding the safety of each individual in the community, and ensuring that any accused person is not unjustly condemned.

Postmortem examination helps in knowing the cause of death, and by the help of this examination we may find out evidence to reach the accused.

Under Article 59 of the Qanun-e-Shahdat Order, 1984, the opinion of doctor is a relevant fact and under Article 164 of the same Order, Court may consider any evidence that may have become available because of modern devices or techniques.

Under Qanun-e-Shahdat Order, civil, and criminal postmortem reports have adopted to decide matters neatly and fairly. In the coming paragraphs we will discuss the objects and importance of the postmortem examination in detail.

Meaning of postmortem examination: According to the book of Parekhs Text Book of Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology:

Post = after

Mortem = death

Postmortem examination means, to have view of dead body after death. Postmortem examination is a special type of scientific examination of a dead body called out under the laws of the state for the protection of its citizens and to assist the identification and prosecution of the guilty persons.

When postmortem is conducted and objects of medico-legal autopsy (postmortem for the determination of cause of death): The objects of medico-legal autopsy are following:

1.      To determine the identity of a person.

2.      To determine the cause of death whether natural or unnatural, if unnatural, whether suicide, homicide, or accidental.

3.      To trace the evidence if it has been left by the accused on the victim.

4.      For determining the time since death.

5.      In case of newly born infants to the question of live birth and viability of the child.

6.      In case of mutilated structure remains, to determine if they are human, the probable cause of death and approximate time since death.

7.      In case of accident to determine that his death was really due to accident.

Importance of postmortem in criminal cases: Postmortem report has great importance in criminal cases, especially in murder cases. It plays an important role to determine the liability of the accused in trial. The importance of postmortem report in criminal trials is given below:

1.      Determination of the identity of a person: Identification of a dead body means the determination of the individuality of the dead body. Identification is required in cases such as insurance, disputed sex, murder cases, etc. Due to postmortem examination we can recognize the victim or any other dead person.

2.      Determination of cause of death: In every murder case, it is a basic question that what is the cause of death. Whether it is natural or unnatural. If the cause of death is unnatural, it is decided by the postmortem report whether it is homicide, suicide, or accidental death.

In every criminal trial where Medical Officer has prepared postmortem report, he has to attend Court and give evidence. Every Medical Officer is cross-examined by the counsel so his opinion has great weight in criminal trial.

Case law PLD 1965, Dacca 425: Held postmortem report by itself is no evidence. It can be relevant only when the concerned doctor is examined in Court.

Case law PLJ 1973, Lahore 257: Held medical evidence supporting natural witness safe to rely upon testimony of natural witnesses.

Case law PLD 1972, Peshawar 92: Held statement of an expert stands on precisely same footings as that of any other witness and may not be accepted by Court.

By the help of postmortem examination we can know that the death is due to strangulation (choking), suffocation, throttling, or due to drowning. If a person has been murdered with the help of poison, postmortem examination would reveal the actual situation.

3.      Recognition of accused: Postmortem report is very helpful to recognize the accused. We can trace fingerprints from the body of the deceased person.

If bullet remains in body and weapon of offence is recovered from the accused, report of Forensic Science Laboratory and postmortem report can easily determine the accused. Postmortem report tells us the nature of the wounds and arms expert tells us what kind of weapon caused injuries and in what nature.

4.      Evidentiary value of postmortem report: Postmortem report is relevant under Article 46 of Qanun-e-Shahdat Order, 1983.

Postmortem is also relevant under Article 49 and 59 of the Qanun-e-Shahdat Order, 1984.

Case law NLR 1994 SC 104: Held medical evidence may confirm ocular evidence with regard to seat of injury, nature of injury, kind of weapon used in occurrence, duration between injuries and death, and presence of injured Prosecution Witnesses or accused on spot. It would, however, not connect accused with commission of crime.

5.      Infanticide: Infanticide means the unlawful destruction of a newly born child, and the law regards it as murder. It is punishable u/s 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code by death or transportation for life and compensation.

By the help of postmortem examination we can know that infanticide has committed or not. Autopsy of infant reveals the cause of death.

6.      Determination of time since death: In criminal cases the questions when death took place has most importance. The time of the death is a circumstantial evidence and is relevant in every murder trial. Postmortem report determines the time of death so in this way we can reach to the accused easily.

Provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure relating postmortem: According to the Ss. 174, 175, and 176, some rules have been designed in connection to postmortem.

Whenever any Police Officer empowered by the provincial government receives information that a person has committed suicide or has been killed by another person or by an animal or by machinery or an accident or has died under circumstances raising a reasonable suspicion that some other person has committed an offence shall immediately give intimation thereof to the Magistrate and if this officer considers necessary that postmortem is necessary then he would send dead body to the nearest hospital for postmortem.

The postmortem examination is a very important piece of evidence in criminal trials. If Police Officer do not act u/s 174 of Code of Criminal Procedure then this action is offence under Ss. 217 or 218 of the Pakistan Penal Code.

7.      Determination of age: The postmortem examination is very helpful for determining age of the dead body. Due to the examination age of the dead person may be determined, when in a criminal case or civil litigation the question of age arises about the dead body. There are many examinations, which can be adopted for determining the age especially with the help of postmortem examination.

8.      Determination of sex: When the dead body has badly damaged, then the question of sex may arise. Due to the postmortem examination it is very easy to determine the sex of the dead body, so postmortem examination plays an important role to solve lot of problems.

Outline of postmortem examination: Following is the outline for the postmortem:

Essential requirements of a medico-legal autopsy: The essential requirements of a medico-legal autopsy are following:

1.      It should be performed by a registered medical practitioner.

2.      The examination should be meticulous (concerning minute details) and complete, all findings should be mentioned.

3.      All information must be prescribed by written records, stretches, relevant photographs, and radiographs, when possible.

4.      Evidentially material when revealed should be prescribed properly.

5.      The doctor should provide a factual and objective report to the law enforcing agencies.

Precautions for medico-legal autopsy: As a rule, the following precautions should be taken in carrying out a medico-legal autopsy:

1.      Authorization.

2.      Identification.

3.      Visit to place of occurrence.

4.      History of the case.

5.      Examination.

6.      Verification of the injuries noted by the police.

7.      Preservation of viscera (internal organs).

8.      Notes.

9.      List of articles.

10.  Chain of evidence.

Procedure of postmortem examination: There are various procedures for autopsy, yet it is the training, skill, and experience of the pathologist that matters most. The technique of autopsy is learnt by practice only. In the coming paragraphs we draw an outline of the medico-legal autopsy.

External examination: Those observations likely to be of significance in relation to the objects of a medico-legal autopsy are specially looked for and these include:

1.      Date for identification: A brief general description of the body should be given as regards, sex, age, colour, race, hair in various parts of the body with their length and colour, colour of the iris (eye ball), bony framework, deformities etc. for the purpose of identification. The general condition of the body should be mentioned where poisoning is suspected, weight of the body must be recorded. Height of the body should be recorded when question arises about the assault.

2.      Detailed examination of clothing, etc.: The clothing should be examined and described as regards its nature and condition, nothing any tears, loss of buttons, or disagreement indicating a struggle, cuts, holes, burns, or blackening from firearm discharges should be described. The odour, if any, should be noted. Stains on clothes due to poisons, vomit or facial matter should be kept for analysis.

3.      Examination of whole body pointing directly or indirectly cause of death: The doctor should examine the whole body with reference to point the cause of the death. The condition of natural orifices (opening hole), viz., nose, mouth, ears, urethra (blood vessel), vagina, and arms should be observed and taken. The doctor should observe the external inquires such as abrasions, bruises wounds, hurts, scalds (burn with hot liquid), and rocking of hair should be recorded systematically with full descriptive details and measurements. All an important parts of the body for instance, tongue, neck, head, and hands must be carefully examined.

4.      Photographs should be taken: A certain minimum number of photographs with a scale in position are essential. In this way we easily may identify the dead body. Photographs are necessary to document stains and injuries and to correlate external and internal examination and correlate internal and external injuries. In absence of photograph facility, sketches should be made.

5.      Application of a knot: In the case of a cord or ligature sound the neck, its exact position, manner, and application of a short or knots and its material should be noted.

6.      Estimation of the time since death: The estimation of the time since death is difficult but an approximation is possible if proper observation is made from the beginning. The points to be ascertained include rectal and environmental temperature, the presence and extent or absence and extent or absence of rigor (hardness) mortis (stiffening body after death), the incidence, extent, colour, and degree of fixation of postmortem lividly, and the presence, character, and extent of putrefaction.

7.      Direction of blood: The direction of blood smears and the signs of spouting (flowing) of blood should be noted, if any.

Internal examination: All the three cavities of the body, viz., skull, thorax (chest), abdomen should be opened and examined, as a routine. No autopsy is complete until all parts of the body have been examined and dissected (analyze part by part) in detail. Generally a medicine incision (surgical cut) is made from just above the thyroid cartilage (tough flexible tissue) to the symphysis (growing together) avoiding the umbilicus and any injuries in the incision are made (I shaped incision). Now we discuss the method and objects of opening the major parts of the body.

Skull and brain: Under skull and brain we shall discuss the following:

1.      Incision (surgical cut) I: Make iodine incision of scalp from mastoid over the vertex (peak, highest) taking care not to cut large mass of hair. Note any injury, petechial hemorrhage, or edema. Note any depressed fracture, and if present, record its dimensions and contour.

2.      Incision II: Incise the temporalis muscle about its middle on each side. Saw and remove the skull cap, the line of severance (cutting or breaking off) following a point most above the superciliary (related to the eyebrow) ridges (fold) in front and through the occiput (back part of the head or skull) behind and preferably making an angle of 120 degrees between the anterior cuts. Case should however be taken not to produce any postmortem fractures and damage.

3.      Ducal examination: Examine the ducal flow outside for extra ducal hemorrhage and superior sagittal (resembling an arrow) sinus for antemortem (before death) thrombus (blockage). Determine the weight and volume of extra ducal hemorrhage, if present.

4.      After that sub ducal hemorrhage should be examine.

5.      Obtain CSF sample by aspiration with Pasteur pipette (pipe, receiver, tube) from the base of the skull.

6.      Examine the remaining venous and the caramel cavity for antemortem (before death) thrombi.

7.      Remove the pituitary by chiseling the posterior clinoid processes and inclining the diaphragm alone is sufficient in many cases.

8.      Pull out the ducal and examine the base of the skull and the rest of the cranial cavity for any saline.

9.      Remove a wedge shaped portion of the petrous (rocky, stony, hard) temporal bone and examine the mastoid for any collection of pus, hemorrhage, or fluid in the middle ear.

10.  Input the skull cap for fracture by holding it against light or tapping it on table.

11.  Examine the brain for swelling, shrinkage, or permeation (penetration).

12.  Cub the cerebellum through the vermis to expose the fourth ventricle. Make an oblique cut through each hemisphere to expose the dentate mucous. Examine for any disease inquiry or hemorrhage.

Spine and spinal cord:

1.      Turn the body over the face with a block beneath the thorax. Make a routine midline incision from the base of the skull to the sacrum. Remove the spinous processes and attached laminal en masse (made up of layer upon layer together).

2.      Examine the ducal for any pathological condition, such as inflammation, hemorrhage, suppuration, or tumor. Cut the spinal nerves from below upwards as they pass through the spinal foramina. Separate the cord at the foramen magnum, carefully lift it from vertebral column, and place it on the table.

3.      Examine the cord carefully for any pathological condition such as softening, hemorrhage, inflammation, etc.

Thorax: Open both thorax and abdomen by a longitudinal in union from above the middle of thorium to the pubic bone. Keep wide away from any wounds and infants away from umbilicus. Fascia and muscles are reflected and abdominal cavity opened and any collection of blood, serum, or pus, or fecal mater noted.

Examine pericardial cavity for any adhesions or abnormal quantity of fluid. Examine heart condition of chambers, any valvular disease, presence of blood, or clot or wrongly thrombosis, etc.

Examine bronchi for pent-up (confined) expectoration, pus, or any foreign body.

Abdomen peritoneum: Note adhesions, inflammation, exudation, lymph blood, or clots, etc. and its amount, measured with an ounce measure.

Stomach: Ordinary it is examined by making a cut in situ, note nature and quantity of contents and degree of digestion. After emptying its contents, examine mucous membranes for congestion etc. Any suspicious particles are picked with forceps and placed in a small phial for chemical analysis. Note contents for smell colour, character, foreign bodies etc.

Intestine: Pieces are removed after ligaturing (connection) at both ends, cut longitudinally (lengthwise) etc. In suspected poisoning, send pieces and contents of chemical examiner.

Liver: Note any injury or disease, congestion, etc. and take its weight. Normal size (12 x 7 x 3) in suspected poisoning send pieces and contents to the medical examiner.

Spleen (gland link): Note injury, congestion, size, and weight. In case of rupture (break) note its size and position (normal size 5 x 3 x 1).

Kidneys: For injury, disease, stones, congestion, etc. Adrenals for hemorrhage.

Bladder: For disease, inflammation, stones, injury, etc. amount of urine is checked. In suspected poisoning urine is sent for chemical analysis. Also prostate and tests should be sent for analysis.

Uterus: Note if empty or gravid (pregnant). If pregnant, find age of foetus. Any disease? Foreign bodies in vagina or uterus.

External genitalia (sexual organs): In females, hymen, if present or absent, take vaginal swabs.

In males: Note circumcised or not.

Intestines: These have already been separated and kept aside in a sink. Open the small intestine with an enterotome along the line of mesenteric attachment. Examine contents and mucous membrane. Examine appendix for any pathological condition.

Tests: The deep aspects of the inguinal (of the groin) canal from beneath the reflected skin are cut. Spermatic cords are identified at the inguinal ring. The tests are removed from the scrotum by separating them from the inside of scesfal sac (membranous pouch) by gentle bunt dissection with scissors, examine injury especially cushynosis. Deaths due to squeezing of tests are known.

Skeleton: Make a detailed inspection of skeleton for any deformity or fractures. Vertebrae ribs, pelvis, long bones, etc. especially in cases of violence and vehicular accidents. Examine carefully vertebrae, ribs, pelvis, long bones, if homilies is required, it can be obtained from the sternum (breastbone).

Procedure in poisoning: To determine whether death was due to poison or not, it is necessary to collect right material in reasonable quantity. Many poisons are ingested, for instance:

1.      Alcohol (chemical compound containing an alkyl group and a hydroxyl group).

2.      Barbiturates (drug used as a sedative).

3.      Carbon monoxide and coal gas.

4.      Chloroform (volatile poisonous liquid).

5.      Corrosive poison.

6.      Arsenic (type of poison substance).

7.      Hydrogenic acid.

8.      Injected poison.

9.      Pesticides.

Since many poisons are ingested, and after option pass through the liver and spleen are excreted via the kidneys in urine, the following material should be strictly preserved in all cases in respect of the poison:

Material Quantity

Stomach Whole

Stomach contents 300 ml

Small intestine 100 cms

Small intestine contents 100 ml

Liver 500 gms

Spleen Half in adult and whole in children

Kidneys Half from adult and both kidneys from children

Urine 100 2000 ml

Blood 5 10 ml

Addition viscera: Additional viscera and material may also be required in certain cases of poisoning and under some special circumstances. For example:

Alcohol 100 ml

Corrosive poison Skin at least 2.5 cm

Special circumstances of poisoning: In special circumstances, the following material should also be collected:

Blood in one-ounce capacity, CSF, Bone, Bone mallow, Maggots, Muscle, Nails, Skin, and Urine.

All the collected material should be preserved carefully and sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory.

Disposal: Suture and wash the body and hand if over to the police, under a receipt, for further disposal. The skin surfaces should be opposed and stitched in such a way that bleeding is prevented.

Cause of death and autopsy report: When the autopsy is completed, the medical officer must form an opinion as to the cause and mode of death and probable time since death whenever possible.

The detailed postmortem report is written in triplicate. One copy is sent to the investigating Police Officer, another to the Superintendent of Police, and third retained as office copy.

The report should state the authority ordering the postmortem, the name of the deceased, the date, place, and time of examination and the names of the persons identifying it. A complete description of the external and internal examination including detailed description of the inquiries, their age, etc., is then given.

1.      Introduction.

2.      Meaning of postmortem examination.

3.      When objects.

4.      Importance.

a)      Identification of body.

b)      Identification of accused.

c)      Determination of age.

d)     Date of sex.

e)      Infanticide.

f)       Time since death.

g)      Cause of death.

5.      Evidentiary value, 47 59, 164.

6.      Provisions of Code of Criminal Procedure relating to the postmortem 174 176.

7.      Outline of the postmortem report.

a)      Essential requirements of medical autopsy.

b)      Precautions for medico-legal autopsy.

c)      Procedure to postmortem.

i)        External examination.

(1)         Data for identification.

(2)         Examination of clothing.

(3)         Examination of whole body pointing directly or indirectly to the cause of death.

(4)         Photographs should be taken.

(5)         Examination knot.

(6)         Estimation of time since death.

(7)         Direct of blood.

ii)      Introduction.

(1)         Skull and brain.

(2)         Spinal and spinal cord.

(3)         Thorax between neck and stomach.

(4)         Stomach.

(5)         Peritoneum.

(6)         Intestine.

(7)         Liver.

(8)         Spleen.

(9)         Kidneys.

(10)     Bladder.

(11)     Uterus.

(12)     External Genitalia.

(13)     Testes.

(14)     Skeleton.

d)     Procedure.

e)      Disposal.

f)       Cause of death and autopsy report.

8.      Conclusion.

Describe various types of injuries and their value in assessing the guilt of the accused.

Introduction: An injury is a solution or disruption of the anatomical continuity of any of the tissues of the body. U/s 332 of Pakistan Penal Code, 1860, harm, disease, infirmity, or injury to any person or impairs, disables, or dismembers any organ of the body or part thereof of any person without causing his death, is said to cause hurt. There are various types of injuries, which may be caused to any person. In the subject of medical jurisprudence injuries have been clarified in several kinds, because they caused in different circumstances.

Assessment of hurt is most necessary in criminal trial, without assessing the hurt; we cannot assess the punishment.

Meaning of injury: An injury or a would means a solution or disruption of the anatomical continuity of any of the tissues of the body.

Various types of injuries: Injuries are classified in various types in the coming paragraphs. We discuss in brief:

1.      Mechanical injuries: Injuries caused by the application of physical violence to the body are known as mechanical injuries.

Mechanical injuries are classified in technical languages as follows:

a)      Abrasions: The effect on a surface or scraping caused by rubbing. An abrasion is a superficial only on surface injury involving only the superficial layers of the skin. Friction or presence between the skin and some rough object causes it. There are different types of abrasions, given in following:

i)        Scratch: An injury resulting from pins, finger, needle leads to scratch type of abrasion.

ii)      Graze: A graze is an injury which is produced when a blood surface of skin slides or scrapes against a rough surface. It is commonly the result of traffic accident.

iii)    Pressure abrasion: When the skin is crushed as a result of high-pressure. This type of abrasion is called pressure abrasion.

iv)    Impact abrasion: This abrasion results from the body coming in rough contact with a rough surface, e.g., tyre treated.

b)      Bruises: A bruise is an infiltration of blood into the tissues, following the rupture of vessels, usually capillaries, as a result of the application of blunt force, e.g., a stick, stone, or fist. Usually, it is subcutaneous (situated under the skin) and there is no solution in the continuity of the skin.

It varies in size from a small pinhead bleeding to a large collection of blood, known as a hematoma (accumulation of blood).

Bruises are usually round but they may indicate the nature of the weapon used. Certain diseases can produce confusion like whooping enough, haemophilia, due to very little pressure or right blow. Bruises may be homicidal, suicidal or accidental. An approximate age of the bruise can be determined either from colour changes or histologically (study of tissues).

c)      Lacerations: These are wounds in which the skin and underlying tissues are torn as a result of the application of blunt force. It is more of tearing of tissues rather than simple cutting of tissues. These wounds are produced by blunt instrument, fall on sharp and hard instruments, roadside accidents, railway accidents, injury by claws and teeth.

Depending upon the manner in which they are produced they are classified into:

i)        Split lacerations.

ii)      Stretch lacerations.

iii)    Avulsion.

iv)    Tears.

Characteristics: Following are the characteristics:

1.      Margins of the wound are irregular.

2.      Deeper tissues are also torn.

3.      The swelling extends the site of actual injury, etc.

4.      Foreign bodies like earth material, oil etc., may be found inside the injury.

d)     Incised wounds: An injury caused by sharp cutting instrument resulting in clean-cut wound through the tissues in an incised wound. The instruments usually are knife, scalpel, razor, sword, and axes, etc.

The injury varies in sharpness according to the character of the weapon and the nature of the stroke made. The wound is normally straight but may be irregular.

The curved weapon may cause this injury, e.g., sickle, tangy etc.

e)      Stab wounds: These wounds are produced by sharp or blunt instrument being driven through the skin into the deeper structure. The instruments generally used are knives, daggers, sickles, pins, needles, and scissors.

Stab wounds are of two types:

1.      Penetrating wound: Here the penetrating object pierces the skin and deeper structures to entire into one of the natural cavity of the body, e.g., thorax abdomen etc. The wound has an entrance only.

2.      Perforating (make holes): When the wound pierces the human body from one surface to the other, it is called perforating wound.

Commonly in stab wound the depth of the wound is much greater than the length and width of the stab wound is slightly greater than the length.

Stab wound may be suicidal, homicidal, or accidental.

f)       Firearm injuries: Firearm injuries are those injuries which are caused by the firearm, e.g., revolver, shot gun, rifle, semi automatic gun, etc.

Gunshot wounds: The main characteristics of a gunshot wound are:

1.      Wound of entrance: Following are the wound of entrance:

1.      Whenever there is only one wound of entrance it indicates that the bullet is lodged in the body.

2.      The wound of entrance is generally smaller than the projectile.

3.      The shape of wound is round when the projectile strikes the skin at right angles and it is oval when the right projectile strikes obliquely.

4.      Edges of wound are inverted and bruised.

2.      Wound of exile: Following are the wound of exile:

1.      The size of the wound is larger than the wound of entrance.

2.      Edges of the wound are ragged. Size of the wound depends upon the velocity, size of bullet, and distance, etc.

g)      Defense wounds: These are injuries sustained by a person as a result of his spontaneous reaction to protect himself when attacked. The natures of the injuries vary depending upon the kind of weapon. When the weapon is blunt, these may be abrasions, bruises, and lacerations. When the weapon is sharp, defence cuts or stabs will be produced.

h)     Fabricated injuries: Fabricated injuries known as fictitious injuries or forged wounds. These are injuries produced by a person on his own body, or caused by another acting in agreement with him. The object is:

i)        To support a false charge against another person with ulterior motive.

ii)      To overt suspicion from oneself.

2.      Thermal injuries: A thermal injury is defined as tissue injury resulting from the application of heat in any form to the external or the internal surface of the heat.

Such injury may result from the following and each has distinct features. We explain in the following:

a)      Dry heat, simple burn: A burn is an injury to the body produced by the application of flame, some heated solids, like metals, etc. It leads to destruction of tissue. According to Wilson burns have been divided into three degrees, viz.:

i)        Epidermal.

ii)      Dermo, epidermal.

iii)    Deep burns.

b)      Moist heat, scalds: This is the result of an injury to the body produced by the moist heat from a liquid at boiling point and from the gaseous form of liquid such as vapors of liquid.

c)      Chemicals, corrosive burns: Corrosive substances cause chemical burns. They often show different colours. The common type of chemicals burns met which are of sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and carbolic acid.

d)     Electric contact, spark, flashes, lightning, and electric burns: There are three kinds of electric burns, viz.:

i)        Contact burn.

ii)      Spark burns.

iii)    The flash burns depending upon the nature of the contact and strength of the current.

e)      Lightning, x-rays, ultra violet rays, radium, laser, and radiation burns: High voltage currents are produced in thunderstorm (electrical storm) for very short period of time. Some of the electric discharges may take the direction of the earth and injure the persons in the vicinity of the discharged.

Symptoms: Following are the symptoms:

a)      If the lightening is of very high voltage, the person immediately dies of confusion or circulatory collapse.

b)      Sever burns and laceration may also lead to subsequent death.

c)      The other injuries could be in the form of injuries, i.e., burns, laceration, wounds, and fractures.

f)       Explosions: Nature of the injury depends upon the energy released and distance thereof. The injuries from explosion are mainly due to factors, viz.:

i)        Blast.

ii)      Flame or hot gases.

iii)    Flying missiles.

iv)    Asphyxia (lack of oxygen).

3.      Regional injuries: It has following kinds:

a)      Head: These injuries could be classified as:

i)        Injuries of the scalp: These injuries are usually homicidal or accidental.

ii)      Injuries of the skull: Fractures of the skull may or may not be associated with confusion or wounds of the scalp. It can be as a result of accidental or a homicidal injury.

iii)    Injuries of the brain: It may be in shape of hemorrhage.

b)      Spine and spinal cord: Fractures of the spine need not necessarily damage the spinal cord but the spinal cord is rarely injured without damage to the spine expect in whiplash (injury to the neck) injury. The spinal cord is liable to:

i)        Concussion (injury to the head from a fall or blow).

ii)      Compression (pressing together).

iii)    Pitching (setting up).

iv)    Laceration (roughly cut wound).

c)      Face: Injuries to the face by causing permanent disfiguration or loss of sight or teeth often come within the definition of grievous hurt. Such injuries usually involves:

i)        Eyes from direct or indirect trauma.

ii)      Nose due to enmity or sexual jealously.

d)     Neck: The wounds of neck are generally incised. Commonly these are suicidal or homicidal and very rarely accidental.

e)      Chest: Injuries of the chest are mostly accidental homicidal and very rarely suicidal. They are classified as:

i)        Open wound.

ii)      Closed wound.

In chest injuries may be caused in lungs, ribs, heart, blood vessels, etc.

f)       Abdomen: Injuries to the abdomen can be broadly classified into open and closed injuries. The open injuries are the ones where the abdominal cavity is communicated to the external atmosphere. These are usually stab injuries.

The closed injuries are due by blunt objects. Injuries can also appear in liver, spleen, kidney, pancreas, stomach, intestine, rectum, bladder, testis, penis, uterus, and pelvis, etc.

g)      Bones: Bone injuries are usually known as fractures in bones. In size they may be varied.

h)     Joints: Blow, falls, and muscular actions may cause injuries in joints of the body.

4.      Traffic injuries: In order of frequency they are classified in:

a)      Vehicular injuries: Persons involved in vehicular accidents sustain a large variety of injuries. Severity of injury varies case to case.

b)      Railway injuries: They may be suicidal or accidental. If a person jumps in front of a train, the injuries are very severe and large. Accidental injuries may be occurred during the walk on railway track or during a fall from the window, etc.

c)      Aircraft injuries: These results from either crash accidents or flight accidents. Majorities of aircraft accidents are crash accidents occurring while landing or taking off. Flight accidents are normally very few.

Kinds of hurts under Pakistan Penal Code, 1898: The kinds of hurts are enumerated u/s 332 of Pakistan Penal Code. According to this section the following are the kinds of hurts:

1.      Itlaf-i-udw (z NA).

2.      Itlaf-i-salahiyyat-i-udw (z OYu NA).

3.      Shajjah (Vq).

4.      Jurh (`jU).

Shajjah has following kinds u/s 337 of Pakistan Penal Code:

1.      Shajjah-i-khafifah (Ұΰa Vq).

2.      Shajjah-i-mudihah (Zy ̿ Vq).

3.      Shajjah-i-hashimah (q BY Vq).

4.      Shajjah-i-munaqillah (ҼĿ Vq).

5.      Shajjah-i-ammah (ҿE Vq).

6.      Shajjah-i-damigha (ҬοAe Vq).

Jurh has following kinds u/s 337 B of Pakistan Penal Code:

1.      Jaifah (BU).

2.      Ghayr-jaifah (BU iBΫ).

Following are the kinds of Ghayr-jaifah u/s 337 E of Pakistan Penal Code:

1.      Damiyah (οAe).

2.      Badiah (yBI).

3.      Mutalahimah (YN).

4.      Mudihah (Ҩy̿).

5.      Hashimah (q BY).

6.      Munaqqilah (ҼĿ).

Value of injuries in assessing the guilt of accused: According to the provisions of Pakistan Penal Code hurts have been defined, for each hurt distinct punishment has been elaborated in Pakistan Penal Code. Every hurt has different punishment and punishment is given according to nature of the hurt. It is general principle of the criminal law that a man should be punished according to his guilt, no body can be given punishment excessive than his guilt.

There are large number of injuries that may be caused to any person, and every injury shall be different from each other, so that every presiding officer carefully consider the reports of the medical officer for determination of the guilt and punishment.

Assessment of injury has most importance in every criminal trial belonging to hurt. Kinds of injuries and their nature determine the responsibility of the accused. In trial, it the basic issue that what kind of injury was caused and under what circumstances and how much conviction should be awarded. The help of medico-legal report solves all these questions.

Methods of fingerprints introduction: With the development of human mind and in science field, a lot of new lines discovered for identifying of accused. One of them is by fingerprints. By the help of fingerprint we can easily identify the criminal persons. This system is the most modern system of the world and has great importance in any criminal investigation. All investigating agencies adopt this method of investigation. It is very simple and authentic system. The pattern of thumbs is classified on the basis of arrangement of ridges into four main types, i.e., arches, loops, whorls, and compounds. All these are discussed in the coming paragraphs.

Background of fingerprint system: The fingerprint system was discovered by Sir William J. Herschel, ICS, who introduced it in Hugli District of Bengal in 1877. It was systematized in 1892 by Sir Francis Galton.

Meaning of fingerprints: A fingerprint means an impression made by the ball of a finger. The fingerprint system, also known as dactylography (study of fingerprints for identification purposes) is based on the principle that the skin of the balls of the fingers and thumbs are covered with characteristic ridges and grooves (lifestyle), the pattern of which makes absolute identification possible.

Important characteristics of ridges (range): They are present from birth, both on the epidermis and the dermis.

They remain constant for the whole life of the individual and cannot be altered except by destruction of the true skin.

They form patterns that are absolutely individual. No two hands are entirely alike, not even the identical twins.

Classification of fingerprints pattern: The fingerprint patterns are classified on the basis of arrangement of ridges into four main types, i.e., arches, loops, whorls, and compounds. In the following we discuss in detail.

Arch: The ridges run from one side of the print to the other and as the name implies, in an arch like fashion. The ridges terminate at the sides of the print approximately equidistant (equally distant) to each other and do not make a backward turn. Arches are 6 7% amongst the people. Arches may be divided in sub-groups plain or tented.

Loop: The ridges about the centre of the print arrange themselves somewhat in the form of a hair pin the ends of which points more or less in a down ward slanting direction. A varying number or ridges group themselves around the centre loop formation. There are two fixed points in all prints of the loop type, i.e., the delta and the core. They are used for classification purposes. Loops type prints all about 67% amongst the people. Loops may open either towards radial or ulnar (bone of the lower arm) side.

Whorl: The ridges from a more intricate pattern than in arches and loops. The circular design of the ridge groupings is conspicuous. The ridges may take a clockwise or anti clockwise turn. There are two deltas, both of which are utilized for classification. The core is indicated for reference purposes but is not used in the Henry system.

Compounds: As the name implies, these patterns consist of two or more of the proceeding patterns. The fingerprint pattern composites is 1 2 % amongst the persons.

A composite is a pattern consisting of two or more arches, loops, and whorls with variable combinations.

Method of recording fingerprints: Fingerprints can be recorded easily. The fingers are washed, cleaned, and dried to ensure clear prints. The print is taken with printers ink on unglazed (not windowed) white paper. The impression can be either plain or rolled. A plain impression is obtained by lightly pressing the inked surface of the tip of the finger or thumb directly on the paper while a rolled impression is taken by rolling the inked finger or thumb from side to side. A rolled impression recording the pattern of whole ball of the finger is much more complete and desirable than a case plain one which is only partial. While in the case of criminals, impressions of all the finger digits of both hands are taken and preserved by the police for future identification. It is customary in Pakistan to take usually the left thumb impression of illiterate persons in lieu of signature on many legal and other documents.

How fingerprints can be searched from the scene of crime: The ridge impressions are due to moistening of the skin by sweat and sebum from the skin glands. All the scene of crime, they are found on door, knobs, furniture, weapons, and various other articles unless a criminal has worn gloves. Fingers soiled with blood or grease also leave appropriate impressions. If the impressions are faint, the fingerprint expert can make them visible by special techniques as for example, by the use of dusting powder.

If the fingertips are dried up in dead body, the prints can be taken after searching the fingers in an alkaline solution for some time. If the skin has peeled off as a result of burns, putrefaction, or drowning, the prints can still be recorded either from the dermis or from peeled off skin hardened by formation.

The practical application of fingerprint system: Following is the system to apply fingerprint system:

1.      Recognition of chance impressions left at a scene of crime.

2.      Identification of the weapon used for committing suicide or homicide, e.g., firearm.

3.      Identification of habitual criminals.

4.      Identification of suicides.

5.      Recognition of deserters (defect).

6.      Identification of persons suffering from loss of memory or those dead or unconscious after being involved in an accident.

7.      Identification of decomposing bodies of unknown persons.

8.      Prevention of impersonation.

9.      As an extra precaution, on cheques, banker notes, and other legal documents which may bear a fingerprint in addition to manual signature.

The advantages of fingerprint system: The advantages of this system are:

1.      It is applicable to persons of all ages.

2.      Prints can be obtained even from putrefied bodies.

3.      Absolute identification is possible.

4.      No special training or expensive instruments are necessary.

5.      The system tends itself to easy classification.

6.      The actual print is always available to check any suspected error.

7.      The print can be transmitted from one place to another by a code message.

Conclusion: All modern countries such as USA, France, Germany etc. adopted this system.

Courtesy: From page 16 to 34 by Mr. Shahid Mahmood, Roll No. 251, Session 19982001




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Stereo I. G. C. H. No.

Serial No. _________


Yearly No.




On the body of
























Body brought by


Body identified by


Whence brought : village, thana, district.







Examination of body

Despatch of matter to Chemical Examiner




Symptoms observed before death



Information furnished by Police



N. B.

The Medical Officer will observe the state of all the organs and when he finds no disease or injury, he should write in the appropriate place the word Healthy.


Mark of ligature on neck and dissection, etc.


Condition of subject-stout emaciated, decomposed, etc. clothing.


Wounds, bruises, position, size, nature.



N. B.

The spinal canal need not be examined unless any indication of disease or injury exits.


Scalp, skill, and vertebrae

Membranes Brain and Spinal cord.






1.      Walls, ribs, and cartillages






2.      Pieurae






3.      Larynx and trachea






4.      Right lung






5.      Left lung






6.      Pericardium and heart






7.      Blood vessels









1.      Walls






2.      Peritoneum






3.      Mouth, Pharynx and Oesophagus






4.      Diaphragm






5.      Stomach and its contents






6.      Pancreas






7.      Small intestines and their contents






8.      Large intestines and their contents






9.      Liver






10.  Spleen






11.  Kidneys






12.  Bladder






13.  Organs of generation:

external and internal








Disease or Deformity
































Probable time that elapsed -----



a)      between injury and Death,




b)      between death and Postmortem.







Signature and Designation of Medical Officer





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Son of
























Name of relative or friend


Date of examination















Date and hour of arrival











No. and date of Police docket












No. and name of Constable












If admitted


Date of admission








Date of discharge











Date and hour of report to Police












Space for a particulars as to further reference to the case---date of giving evidence in the Court, or despatch of articles said to contain poison.





1. Nature of injuries






The kind of weapon used or poison suspected in case of poisoning









(Simple, grievous, or dangerous)











Probable duration of injury




Two identification marks:--











In Police cases


In private cases







No fee received A fee of Rs. _____ paid to the Examining Medical Officer



Medical Officer







Examining Medical Officer

Signature or Thumb-impression of Private Party