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Odisha Implements New Guidelines for Medical Examination of Assault Victims

Bhubaneswar: In a significant step towards standardizing and improving the process of medical examinations in rape cases across India, the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), 2023 was implemented with effect from July 1. Consequently, the Odisha Health and Family Welfare Department has announced new guidelines for the medical examination of rape victims as part of the BNSS, 2023.

Key points of the new guidelines include:

  • Mandatory medical examination by a Medical Practitioner for all alleged rape victims, with consent from the victim or a competent person on their behalf.
  • Free medical examinations for victims of specific offences under the Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita, 2023, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, with immediate notification to the police of such incidents.
  • Strict timelines for examinations and reporting, requiring medical reports to be sent to investigating officers within seven days.
  • Detailed documentation requirements, including reasons for any delays and exact examination times.
  • Specific consent procedures, with express consent required from victims over 12 years old and parental/guardian consent for those under 12.
  • Comprehensive medical reports including the victim’s physical and mental condition, along with other relevant details.

The guidelines stipulate that the Doctor or Registered Medical Practitioner who examines the victim must prepare a report containing the following particulars:

  1. The name and address of the woman and the person who brought her.
  2. The age of the woman.
  3. The description of material taken from the person of the woman.
  4. Marks of injury, if any, on the person of the woman.
  5. The general mental condition of the woman.
  6. Other material particulars in reasonable detail.

Section 53(3) of the BNSS, 2023 also mandates that a medical examination report be furnished to the arrested person or any person nominated by such arrested person after the medical examination by the examining doctor. Non-compliance with these legal provisions may result in legal prosecution.

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