Here’s why postmortem of executed prisoners are conducted


Delhi: Four convicts of the 2012 Delhi gang-rape and murder case were finally hanged to death on Friday morning, bringing to an end the over seven-year-long court battle fought by the victim’s parents for justice in the case that shook the conscience of the nation.

The post-mortem of the Nirbhaya convicts has shown asphyxia as the cause of death.

“In the post-mortem of four convicts, the autopsy revealed that the cause of death asphyxia. we found they suffered neck bone fracture due to which internal organs like brain and spinal cord got damage and they died,” Dr BN Mishra, forensic expert at Deen Dayal Upadhya hospital told ANI.

But why are post-mortem being conducted of dead prisoners? The post-mortem comes in line with the order of Supreme Court in Shatrughan Chauhan’s case in January 2014.

“By making the performance of post mortem obligatory, the cause of the death of the convict can be found out, which will reveal whether the person died as a result of the dislocation of the cervical vertebrate or by strangulation which results on account of too long a drop,” the apex court had said in its order.

“Our constitution permits the execution of death sentence only through the procedure established by law and this procedure must be just, fair and reasonable,” the order added.

KC Kaushik, former Additional Solicitor General (ASG) and senior Supreme Court lawyer said that the postmortem of execution of death row convicts were done, keeping in view the guidelines laid down in the landmark judgment of Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India.

“The guidelines laid down in Shatrughan Chauhan judgment that after the execution of convicts in jails, the post mortem has to be conducted as per law,” Kaushik told ANI.

The Supreme Court passed the guidelines while hearing the Shatrughan Chauhan case and said the concerned authorities shall comply with all these guidelines with respect to all the death penalty convicts’ cases.

Tihar Jail officials said, “There was a landmark judgment of Shatrughan Chauhan vs Union of India. It listed several instructions regarding death sentences and the same are now being followed in all jail manuals.”

Bodies of the four Nirbhaya convicts who were hanged on Friday morning at Tihar Jail have been sent to the hospital for postmortem, following which it will be handed over to the families, according to an official.

After the hanging at 5:30 am today, the bodies were taken from Tihar Jail to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital for post mortem at around 8:20 am.

All four convicts in the 2012 Nirbhaya gang-rape and murder case — Akshay Singh Thakur, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma, and Mukesh Singh — were hanged to death.

The case pertains to the brutal gang-rape and killing of a 23-year-old paramedical student in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012, by six people including a juvenile in the national capital. The woman had died at a Singapore hospital a few days later.

One of the adults accused had allegedly committed suicide in the prison during the trial, while the juvenile was released from a correction home after a period of three years. (ANI)