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Dr. Dhrubo Jyoti Sen
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Abstract

AN OVERVIEW OF MEDICOLEGAL ASPECT OF INFANTICIDE

*Dr. Ukey Jaiprakash and Dr. Suhas Mahaveer Vishwambhar

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Abstract

The term infanticide refers to the killing or homicide of a child under 12 months of age and killing of a child under 30 days of life is termed as neonaticide. The most of the infanticide occurs in the first month of life. The vivid reasons for infanticide in a country like India are unwanted pregnancies, consequent girl child, sacrificing as a ritual or even the disability or unfit condition of a child. According to section 315 of Indian penal code, the act done with an intent to prevent child being born alive or to cause it to die after birth, is a punishable offence with a period of imprisonment up to 10 years and will be charged with a fine. The autopsy of such infants is often difficult as the relatives either hide the body by burrowing or drown in a deep-water body. Often the bodies are recovered due to some animal invasion or during the floods when the body reaches the shore. Also, it becomes very tricky to state that the infant was born dead or alive. When the macerating changes are seen then it indicates the intra uterine death, whereas the presence of milk inside the stomach is suggestive of child being born alive. Spalding sign, mummification, Robert’s sign, hyper flexion of spine and crowding of ribs are some of the signs of a dead born child. This write is an humble effort to evaluate the medico legal aspects associated with infanticide and newer techniques associated with it.

Keywords: Infant, Autopsy, Homicide, Neonaticide.


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