An inquest is an inquiry or investigation into the cause of death.
In India, two types of inquests are held, Police inquest and other is Magistrate’s inquest.
Let’s read about each of those and also about other types of inquests which are conducted in some other countries.
Police inquest is conducted by the officer incharge of a police station (usually Sub-inspector).
As he is conducting the inquest, he is called the Investigating officer.
When he receives information of death, he informs the nearest Executive Magistrate about it. And leaves to visit the site of death.
The Investigating officer along with two or more respectable people (panchas) conducts the investigation and prepares an inquest report which is called Panchanama. It includes the following points:
•the apparent cause of death,
•description of wounds, fractures, bruises, and other marks of injury found on the body,
•in what manner, or by what weapon or instrument, such injuries appear to have been inflicted.
The Panchanama is signed by the Investigating officer and the panchas.
And the body may be handed over to the relatives for disposal or may be sent for post-mortem depending upon whether foul play is suspected.
Magistrate’s inquest is conducted by
•District Magistrate (Collector/Deputy
•Sub-divisional Magistrate(RDO) or
•any other Executive Magistrate
It is done in case of:
(1) death in police custody, and while under police interrogation,
(2) death due to police firing,
(3) death in prison, reformatories, Borstal school,
(4) death in a psychiatric hospital,
(5) dowry deaths,
(7) Any person dies or disappears, or rape is alleged to have been committed on any woman, while such person or woman is in the custody of the police or in any other custody authorised by the court
Coroner’s inquest, Medical Examiner’s system and Jury are other types of inquest.
Medical Examiner’s system is superior to Coroner’s and police inquest as the doctor visits the scene of crime and conducts the inquest.
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