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January 12, 13

NEWS / Indian city violated death certificate issue procedures – report

Authorities in the west Indian city of Nagpur have been violating the legal norms of issuing death certificates in 97 per cent of cases, The Times of India reports. Authorities issued certificates without a medical certificate, which states doctor-determined cause of death.

Of the total 24,027 death certificates that were issued last year, only 737 had a corresponding medical certificate written by a qualified doctor. This discrepancy is indicative of a flagrant violation of procedure, which requires authorities to issue death certificates based only on the information provided in the medical certificate.

It appears that authorities are not the only ones to blame for this mess-up. According to legal procedures, crematoriums are allowed to incinerate the body only after receiving a proper medical certificate from the relatives of the deceased. They then need to fill out a special form based on the medical certificate, which is then sent to a civic body responsible for issuing death certificates.

It turns out that in most cases, the forms issued by the crematorium were based on word-of-mouth information given by the relatives. Such an oversight can potentially allow for murder or manslaughter to go unnoticed, as anyone bringing in a dead body could report a medically unverified cause of death.

An unnamed senior municipal official said that a medical death certificate was only mandatory in the case of accidental or suspicious deaths.

We ask for medical death certificates in all cases. he noted. But in majority of the cases the relatives cite the reason of death as old age or prolonged illness and death at home. Data says 97% deaths happened at home. The right of cremation cannot be denied, as it may lead to a controversy or law and order situation [sic].

The official also noted that it is mandatory to issue a death certificate within three days of death, and that waiting for a medical certificate could take a longer time. He remarked that many relatives ask medical practitioners to issue medical certificates after cremation, which is technically impossible.

Tags: death certificate, death certificat,


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