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Supreme Court's Decision on Medical Examination Refusal in Sexual Offence Cases


Supreme Court's Decision on Medical Examination Refusal in Sexual Offence Cases
In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court of India directed an accused in a sexual offence case to undergo a medical examination, asserting that refusal indicates non-cooperation with the investigation. This directive came while hearing a petition filed by the mother of a nine-year-old victim challenging the Karnataka High Court's decision, which had stayed a police notice for the accused to appear for a medical examination.

The Supreme Court bench, comprising Justices PV Sanjay Kumar and Augustine George Masih, emphasized that the High Court's initial order was conditional on the accused's cooperation with the investigation. Despite this, the accused protested against the police notice, stating fears of arrest if he did not comply. This led the High Court to stay the notice, permitting the accused to avoid the medical examination.

However, the Supreme Court highlighted that the refusal to undergo medical examination clearly demonstrated the accused's unwillingness to cooperate. The bench noted that compliance with Section 41-A notice, which requires the accused to submit to a medical examination as directed by the Investigating Officer, was mandatory. The accused's objections to the medical facility lacked tenable grounds, further indicating his non-cooperation.

Staying the High Court's impugned order, the Supreme Court mandated the accused to present himself before the Investigating Officer for a medical examination on July 10, 2024, at 10 A.M. This decision underscores the judiciary's firm stance on ensuring thorough investigations in cases involving serious offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act), the Indian Penal Code, and the Juvenile Justice Act.

The petitioners, represented by Advocates A Velan and Navpreet Kaur, argued that the High Court's order overlooked critical evidence, including the medical report and the victim's statement under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, which implicated the accused. The Supreme Court's ruling aligns with its commitment to uphold justice and ensure comprehensive investigation in cases of severe criminal allegations.

This decision reaffirms the legal principle that cooperation with investigative procedures, including medical examinations, is crucial in the pursuit of justice, especially in sensitive cases involving minors and sexual offences. The ruling sets a precedent for future cases, highlighting the judiciary's role in balancing individual rights with the necessity of a thorough investigation to serve the public interest.

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