According to the Black’s Law Dictionary, the term ‘inquest’ means an inquiry conducted by the medical officers or sometimes with the help of a jury into the manner of death of a person, who has died under suspicious circumstances or has died in prison.
The preparation of an inquest report under the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is conducted to create a record of crime as it forms an important basis for determining the commission of an offence.
Under Section 174 of the Code, the police have been empowered to enquire and report on cases of unnatural death.
Under Section 174(2) of the Code, the report has to be signed by the investigating police officer and other persons, including those who concur therein. This report is then forwarded to the District Magistrate or the Sub-Divisional Magistrate.
Under Section 174(3) of the Code, special circumstances involving the death of a woman have been laid down. This was added by the Criminal Law (Second Amendment) Act, 1983. Under Section 174(4), the Magistrates have been listed down who are empowered to conduct inquests -
Any District Magistrate;
Any Sub-Divisional Magistrate;
Any other Executive Magistrate
The report that is made by the police under Section 174(1) of the Code is not exhaustive in nature. It contains in it only the first impression of the dead body. The police officer conducting the investigation is supposed to prepare the report.
The report must contain the following details:
The apparent cause of death.
Description of the wounds, fractures, bruises, and other marks of injury found on the dead body.
The manner in which such marks appear to have been inflicted.
The weapon or instrument (if any) appears to have been used to inflict such injuries.
Section 176 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 deals with an inquiry by the Magistrate into the cause of death.
Under 176(1A), the Judicial Magistrate or the Metropolitan Magistrate within whose jurisdictional area the offence has been committed are empowered to conduct the inquiry, in the following cases.
Where any person has died or disappeared;
When rape is alleged to have been committed on any woman.
This inquiry by the Magistrate is held in addition to the inquiry or investigation held by the police.
References - http://www.wbja.nic.in/wbja_adm/files/inquest%20report.pdf
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