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  • Basic procedure under section 53A of CRPC
  • Value of medical examination in rape cases
  • Do the rights of an accused get violated under this provision?
  • Leading landmark judgments shaping the section.


No woman is safe. Crimes against women start from an exceedingly early age in their lives and accompany them as a shadow throughout. India has witnessed a rampant increase in such crimes against women. 

After the harrowing Nirbhaya case in 2012, which sparked huge protests and calls for strengthened legal protections for women, the Justice Verma Committee was set up. The 2013 Criminal Law (Amendment) Act became attainable by the Justice Verma Committee's recommendations. This Act introduced several amendments to various laws, including the Indian Penal Code 1860, the Code of Criminal Procedure 1973, the Evidence Act 1860, and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. One of the sections impacted by the amendments was Section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). 

Section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) was introduced by Amendment Act and came into effect on 23.06.2006. This section plays a crucial role in investigations related to sexual offenses. It outlines the process for the medical examination of a person accused of rape, to obtain evidence that may support or refute the charges. 


When a person has been accused of committing the act of rape and there are believed to be reasonable grounds supporting the hypothesis of the accused committing the act of rape it allows the investigation authorities to conduct a thorough medical examination of such a person to collect evidence. However, there is a set of basic guidelines and procedures that must be adhered to while conducting such a medical examination. Any person who

has been accused of committing the act of rape must be examined by a registered medical professional who is either working in a government or a local authority-owned hospital. in their decision for State of Maharashtra v. Madhukar Narayan the Supreme Court established that an authorized medical practitioner employed by a government or local authority-run hospital is required to examine the accused by Section 53A. It made clear how crucial the credentials and objectivity of the doctor performing the test are.

 In the absence of any such medical practitioner in the radius of sixteen kilometers of the scene of the incident, a police officer who must not be below the rank of the sub-inspector can request any licensed medical practitioner to conduct the medical examination of such person under his guidance and directions.

The medical practitioner who has been charged with conducting such an examination must procure a thorough and conclusive examination report which must include the necessary particulars of the accused as mentioned in section 53A-the name and the address of the accused and of the person who has accompanied the accused, the age of the accused if any marks or injuries were found on the accused, any detailed description of the materials which were procured from the accused which then can be further used for DNA profiling and mentioning any relevant material collected.

After the examination is complete the medical practitioner must compile a report which must include a conclusive conclusion in simple and precise terms. Such a report must include the exact time of commencement as well as the completion of the examination. The medical practitioner is duty-bound to present it to the investigating officer without any delay who is then further tasked to present it to the magistrate.

The medical examination of the accused must be conducted before the framing of the charges. This was held by the Calcutta High Court bench in the case of Sanjay Biswas vs the state and another. The bench of Justice Moushumi Bhattacharya had observed that ‘section 53A did not bestow upon the court any power to direct an examination under the section after the investigative phase has ended with the framing of the charge. The court noted that any order to conduct a medical examination for a supplementary charge sheet contradicts the very foundation of the procedure established in the criminal procedure code.’

The medical practitioner conducting the exam must inform the police or such an accused person whether this is the first examination since the incident occurred. It is pertinent that any relevant papers regarding the previous examination of the accused are attached with the recent examination conducted. An order for a second medical examination or a repeat examination of the accused can only be conducted if such has been directed by the court of law.

In the Prem Chand vs State of Haryana decision, the Supreme Court stressed how crucial it is to follow Section 53A's procedural protections while examining accused parties medically. The Court emphasized that an authorized medical professional must do the examination, and it should not be conducted in a way that compromises the accused's dignity.


Medical examination of a person accused of rape under Section 53A of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) in India is generally considered mandatory. This article provides for the medical examination of a person charged with rape or attempted rape and requires that this examination be carried out within 24 hours of receiving information about the commission of the offense. This examination is intended to collect medical evidence and ensure that the defendant receives the necessary medical care.

Any person who has been accused of rape has to undergo a medical examination by a registered medical practitioner if that person meets the reasonable grounds to assume that such a person has committed the act of rape. On the fulfillment of all reasonable grounds, the accused person must undergo a mandatory medical examination by a registered medical practitioner.

However, the actual practice and application of this provision may vary depending on several factors, including the investigator's levelheadedness, the specific facts of the case, and legal interpretation.

In some cases, there may be delays or problems in conducting the examination, but in general, this provision is intended to ensure the proper handling of cases involving sexual crimes and the protection of the rights of the defendant and the victim.


Evidentiary value refers to the quality of the evidence recorded in terms of its ability to provide conclusive legal proof in a court of law. Evidence collected is a significant tool for judges to ascertain the facts and to reach the necessary decision for swift judicial relief. To maintain the evidentiary value of any evidence collected during a medical examination it is of utmost importance that the proper protocol mentioned under section 53A of the act is followed. If the court of law found any gaps in the medical examination itself or the transfer of evidence through the chain of custody it is bound to decrease its evidentiary value. The court often raises questions about unexplainable delays in the collection of samples, presentation of the signed report with a concrete conclusion etcetera.


Section 53A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) has been the subject of controversy as it may violate the constitutional rights of the accused. 


Collection of evidence - Section 53A regulates the collection of evidence in cases of sexual offences. This is very helpful in the investigation and prosecution of such crimes.

Due process -The provisions of section 53A emphasize the importance of due process and careful documentation in the trial of sins. The correct application of this section ensures the accuracy of the evidence collected and contributes to the fair and just administration of the law.


Rights may be violated - In some cases, Section 53A may violate the constitutional rights of the accused. For example, in the case of M.Muthukumar v. The Police Inspector argued that forcing the suspect to undergo a medical examination violates the accused's right to self-incrimination.

Covering the space for the accusation - In the case of Rahul Pandey v. The State of Madhya Pradesh has argued that the court cannot exercise its powers under Section 311 of the CrPC to fill vacancies at the last stage. 

According to the Indian constitution under Article 20(3) a defendant has the right against self-incrimination wherein such a person must be informed of their rights before making or consenting to any procedure which might incriminate them in the future. The biggest concern regarding the medical examination under section 53A of the criminal procedure code arises due to its mandatory nature which might amount to violation of the fundamental and legal rights of the accused. However, despite the medical examination being a mandatory provision it cannot be furthered without the consent of the accused the law acknowledges the rights of such an accused and ensures that an accused has been informed of all the evidence that is collected from them during the examination and if such evidence being collected might be used as incriminating evidence against them in the court of law. The accused also has the liberty to choose their licensed medical practitioner for conducting the medical examination held by the judiciary in the case of Bobby Art International Versus Om Pal Singh Hoon . This judgment by the court reinforced the principles of procedural fairness and upheld the rights of an accused during medical examinations. In another case of the State of Maharashtra Versus Doctor Praful B Desai,  the honorable Supreme Court held that any medical examination taking place under section 53A needs to be conducted in a manner that preserves the rights dignity, and privacy of an accused person. The honorable court called for sensitivity and the highest levels of professionalism by the medical practitioners during such examinations.

There are two types of evidence collected from a rape accused-physical evidence and medical evidence. Physical evidence can include vaginal fluid stains, semen stains from the penis, pubic hair or around the male organs and thighs or on the clothes of such an accused person, foreign hairs, fibers found from the clothes of the victim as a remnant of the sexual act, any stains of the cosmetic won by the victim, any flora or fauna especially if the act had been committed in an open/ outdoor area such as the forest. Medical evidence collected during the examination of rape cases can range from scratches, and bite marks due to the resistance offered by the victim, injuries that occur due to partaking in the sexual act, SMEGMA to ascertaining the capability of the accused to partake in such an act or lastly any venereal disease which the accused might have been suffering from.

The registered medical practitioner who has been charged with the examination of a rape accused has to get the consent of the accused before the collection of all the physical and medical evidence mentioned above. If the accused refuses to give consent then such refusal of the accused has to be documented in the report that must be submitted before the magistrate by the inspector in charge. An examining Dr. is ethically bound to seek informed consent from the accused before conducting such an examination while also offering them an opportunity to be examined by a male/ female doctor depending upon their comfort. The procedure and basic guidelines about the examination must be explained to the accused in a language with which a person is most comfortable. In cases where the accused themselves approach the hospital to seek treatment, the medical examiner is bound to inform such a person about contacting the authorities as a mandatory requirement. Section 53 A CrPC states that the use of reasonable force is allowed for the medical examination of an accused of rape, but nowhere it is stated in the law what constitutes reasonable force. Hence all doctors (to be both ethical and legal) in their practice must seek informed consent before doing such examinations. If any accused does not give consent (despite being explained the consequences of not getting medically examined and its possible adverse inferences by the Courts) then a doctor should document informed refusal.


No, legally a person accused of rape cannot deny examination under section 53A of the code of criminal procedure granted that there is a complete satisfaction of certain reasonable grounds mentioned in this section. This then further leads us to believe that an examination of such a person will afford potent evidence regarding the Commission of such an offense and that no delay can be excused to ensure justice.

1.    Lawful examination - The person conducting the medical examination of a person accused of rape should be committing such an examination under the bounds of law. Such a practitioner should be employed by a government or a local authority hospital. If no such practitioner is available within the 16-mile radius of the site of the incident the investigating officer who shall not be below the rank of sub-inspector can call for a registered medical examiner who shall then examine the request of the police officer himself.

2.    Reasonable force- Despite allowing the medical practitioner examining an accused to use reasonable force necessary in case such a person denies the examination the section fails to define reasonable force and acts as an ethical dilemma for doctors in such a situation.

3.    Medical examination report - It is pertinent that the medical practitioner conducting a report must examine the accused without any delay and prepare a report of the examination which shall include details such as the accused's name, address, age, any marks of injury, material taken for DNA profiling, and any other relevant particulars. Such a report must contain a concrete conclusion and reasons for arriving at one while containing the exact time of commencement and the completion of such a medical examination.

4.    Forwarding the report - It is pertinent to the investigation that the registered medical practitioner must promptly pass the investigation report to the investigating officer who in turn must include it in the list of essential documents that need to be submitted to the magistrate under the section 173 of criminal procedural code.


Through this article, we have carefully examined the legal, and procedural implications of Section 53A of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), which mandates a medical examination of persons accused of murder. This analysis reflects the need to balance the rights of the accused against the need to obtain evidence relevant to the prosecution of sex offenses. Section 53A plays an important role in the assessment of forfeiture charges. By requiring defendants to submit to medical examinations, the law allows the collection of evidence for those who have the discretion to confirm or deny allegations. This is especially important in legal contexts where physical evidence can have a significant impact on the outcome of a trial. However, while medical examinations are important to the fairness of judicial proceedings, they raise ethical concerns about suspects' rights to privacy and physical integrity. This analysis suggests that the application of section 53A should have a strong meaning that there is a need for. Guidelines for the protection of the rights of the accused. These guidelines should ensure that reviews are conducted with respect, dignity, and consent and by ethical and human rights standards. In addition, medical professionals participating in these trials must be thoroughly trained in trial procedures and ethical considerations to avoid violating the rights of the accused. The document also provides for ongoing review of the procedures outlined in Sec. 53A. As medical science advances, the methods used during clinical trials must be scientifically sound and legally sound. In addition, the introduction of stronger mechanisms for investigation and accountability of those conducting investigations is essential. Maintain a fair balance between the rights of the accused and the pursuit of justice for victims. Ensuring that this balance is respected is essential not only to maintaining the rule of law but also to fostering a fair and compassionate justice system.

Reviewed by Adv. Nishtha Wadhwa, Content Writer and Reviewer, LCI


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