Madras High Court Orders Fresh Autopsy on Villupuram Student

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Chennai: Noting that if a father expressed suspicion over the post-mortem conducted on his daughter’s body, there was nothing wrong in conducting a fresh autopsy, the Madras High Court on Wednesday allowed the plea of the father of Monisha, one of the three deceased students of SVS Naturopathy and Yoga Science Medical College, Villupuram.

Justice R. Subbiah ordered a fresh post-mortem on the girl’s body in any government hospital in Chennai, in the presence of the petitioner’s doctor P. Sampath Kumar, Head of Forensic Department, Vice Principal of Sri Ramachandra Medical College, Chennai.

On January 23, three girl students of the college (V. Priyanka, T. Monisha and E. Saranya) reportedly committed suicide by jumping into a farm well over alleged harassment by the management demanding “exorbitant” fees. Monisha’s father M.K. Tamilarasan approached the High Court seeking transfer of the investigation to the CB-CID. He also sought the court to order a re-post-mortem of his daughter as per the guidelines of the National Human Rights Commission

When the petition came up for hearing on Wednesday, the State government, in its counter-affidavit, submitted that the post-mortem was conducted on the bodies of the other girls on January 24 by a team of doctors headed by Geethanjali, Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Villupuram.

“The petitioner demanded that the autopsy on her daughter’s body be conducted only in Chennai and refused to cooperate with the district administration,” the public prosecutor said.

When the petition came up for hearing on Wednesday, the State government, in its counter-affidavit, submitted that the post-mortem was conducted on the bodies of the other girls on January 24 by a team of doctors headed by Geethanjali, Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine, Villupuram.

“The petitioner demanded that the autopsy on her daughter’s body be conducted only in Chennai and refused to cooperate with the district administration. As he refused to budge even after repeated requests, after fulfilling all the legal aspects, the post-mortem was conducted on Monisha’s body on January 25. The entire process has been video-graphed, and the body is preserved in the Government Medical College Hospital, Villupuram,” the public prosecutor said.

Sankara Subbu, counsel for the petitioner, contended that the autopsy was conducted without the consent of the girl’s parent, and this was illegal. Claiming that the petitioner had suspicions about the cause of death and the autopsy conducted, counsel prayed for a fresh post-mortem.

Opposing the contentions, the public prosecutor said the autopsy already conducted could not be doubted and a re-post-mortem was not required. “If the plea is allowed, it would amount to doubting the integrity of the team of doctors which conducted the examination and would also amount to interference with the investigation,” he said.

Refusing to accept his contentions, the judge said: “Irrespective of the submissions made on either side, since the plea has been made by the father of the deceased girl … the court is of the opinion that the prayer can be considered.” The judge then posted the matter to February 5 for further hearing.

Meanwhile, Venkatesan, member of a fringe Dalit outfit, who was wanted by the police in connection with the death of the three students, surrendered before the Saidapet Court on Wednesday.

 

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