Where such request is made by the arrested person, the Magistrate is under a duty to direct his medical examination except in a case in which the Magistrate is of the view that such request is being made for delaying the trial or defeating the ends of justice. Taking a serious view in custodial torture cases, the Supreme Court in Slieela Barse v. State of Maharashtra,^ has observed that the lower Courts should not adopt a casual approach to custodial torture cases.
In view of the rising incidence of police atrocities and custodial deaths, the Apex Court has reviewed its earlier decision in Joginder Kumar v. State of U.P. Nilabati Behra and Shyam Sunder Trivedi, and issued instructions in D.K. Basu v. State of West Bengal, that in all cases of arrest and detention the arrestee, where he so requests, be examined at the time of his arrest and major or minor injuries, if any, present on his/her body, must be recorded at the time of his arrest.
The Inspection Memo, so prepared must be signed by both the arrestee and the police officer affecting the arrest and its copy should be provided to the arrestee. The Court further directed that the arrestee should be subjected to medical examination by a qualified doctor every 48 hours during his detention in custody.
Though there is no express provision in this section i.e. Section 54 that the medical examination of a female arrestee should be made by a lady medical practitioner, like the one which exists in Section 53, it is presumed that this principle will be followed in application of Section 54 as well. A copy of such medical examination shall be made available to the person nominated by the arrested person.
[54-A. Identification of person arrested:
Where a person is arrested on a charge of committing an offence and his identification by any other person or persons is considered necessary for the purpose of investigation of such offence, the Court, having jurisdiction, may on the request of the officer-in-charge of a police station, direct the person so arrested to subject himself to identification by any person or persons in such manner as the Court may deem fit.]
There being no provision for identification of arrested person on request by a person or persons in the Code, the ordering of such identification was often legally challenged by the accused. Therefore, in order to validate such identification in the interest of proper investigation of the offences, this provision has been inserted in this new Section 54-A by the Code of Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act, 2005.