New guidelines for medico-legal cases

Following the brutal gangrape of a 23-year-old paramedic student last month and the public outcry over it, the Delhi Health department on Friday finalised new guidelines for hospitals handling medico-legal case (MLC) examinations of sexual assault victims.

The guidelines were formulated on instruction from the Delhi High Court.

"It was felt that the entire step-by-step procedure must be made smooth and hassle-free. Victims must be assured their privacy," Health Minister Dr A K Walia said.

Walia said hospitals will be directed to identify a separate room for the examination of victims. "Hospitals have also been ordered to provide proper furniture, basic equipment and adequate stock of forensic kits in this specified room," Walia said.

He said hospitals will also have to provide doctors to counsel the victims.

Health department officials said each hospital would also have to appoint a nodal officer — to ensure proper collection of MLC and evidence — for added supervision. In cases where a victim's clothes were taken as evidence, hospitals have also been asked to provide alternate clothes.

Hospital authorities have also been directed to arrange periodic training sessions, in collaboration with the Delhi Commission for Women, to doctors on protocol and guidelines on the MLC examinations and reports.

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