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'Accused persons' medical reports can be verified'

The court ruled that the courts have every right to verify the genuineness of claims if an accused repeatedly seeks exemptions on medical grounds.

india Updated: Jun 25, 2006 15:51 IST

If an accused repeatedly seeks exemptions from attending trial proceedings by citing medical reasons, the courts have every right to verify the genuineness of such claims, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

Vacation Judge AK Sikri dismissed a petition filed by an accused Dharmbir Khattar, who sought the quashing of a designated CBI Court Special Judge's order that he be examined by a Medical Board of the AIIMS.

The CBI Special Judge had on May 29 passed an order directing the AIIMS to constitute a medical board to verify Khattar's claim that he was suffering from a certain illness that frequently necessitated his exemption from attending the trial proceedings.

In fact, the judge directed that Khattar be produced in an ambulance after refusing to entertain his plea for exemption on medical grounds.

The Judge noted that Khattar had furnished two allegedly conflicting reports on his illness and obtained as many as seven exemptions between December 22, 2005 and May 1, 2006, resulting in delay in his trial.

While one medical report from Safdarjung Hospital stated that Khattar was suffering from "severe lumbar spondylitis, disc degenerative disease and degenerative arthritis", another report issued by the Noida Medicare Centre said he was beset with "convulsions".

As the two reports contradicted Khattar's claims, the Judge ordered that he be examined by a Medical Board of the AIIMS, to clarify whether he was capable of attending courts and carrying out his daily works.

However, Khattar had challenged the Special Judge's order on the ground that the medical certificates issued by the Government hospital were valid evidence to prove his inability to attend court.

"If the circumstances are such that the court has some suspicion about the genuineness of the ground on which exemption is sought, there is nothing wrong in verifying the truthfulness or otherwise of the plea," Sikri observed while agreeing with the orders of the Special Judge.

The High Court pointed out that the Special Judge was prompted to pass the order in view of the manner in which the case had progressed and the repeated exemptions sought by Khattar on different dates by pleading different ailments.