The Orissa High Court directed the Chief Secretary of the State of Odisha to issue a comprehensive circular mandating all medical establishments, including Medical Centers, Private Clinics, Medical Colleges, and Hospitals, to ensure that prescriptions and medico-legal reports are either typed or written in clear, legible handwriting.

The petitioner had sought direction to the District Collector and the Tahasildar to consider his representations for ex-gratia assistance after his son died due to a snake bite. Dr. Biswaranjan Pati had presented the postmortem report in virtual mode but the description under "MORE DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF INJURY OR DISEASE" was illegible.

A Bench of Justice S.K. Panigrahi ordered, “the Chief Secretary of the State is directed to issue a circular to all the Medical Centers, Private Clinics and Medical Colleges and Hospitals directing them to write in proper handwriting or in a typed form when they are prescribing medicine or writing some medico-legal reports.”

Advocate P.K. Nayak appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate G.R. Mohapatra appeared for the Respondents.

The Court said, “Under such head, he has written something which is not legible and cannot be comprehended in ordinary course of reading unless the writer himself or handwriting expert is invited to examine such description.”

The Court observed that many doctors have a casual approach to writing postmortem reports, leading to challenges in understanding these crucial medico-legal documents. The Court added, “In many cases, the casual approach of most of the doctors while writing the postmortem report is affecting the comprehension medico-legal documents badly and the judicial system finds it very difficult to read those letters and come to a definite conclusion.”

The Court ordered, “this Court directs the Chief Secretary, State of Odisha to issue direction to all the doctors of the State to write the postmortem report and prescription in capital letter or in legible handwriting. Moreover, the tendency of writing such zig zag handwriting, which cannot be read by any common man or by judicial officers, has become a fashion among the doctors of the State. Substantial number of doctors in the State resort to such handwriting which cannot be read by any ordinary person.”

While acknowledging the busy schedules of medical professionals, the Court emphasized the need for clarity in medical prescriptions and documents for the benefit of the judicial system.

Based on the postmortem report, the Court determined the death as a case of snake biting. The petitioner was advised to apply for compensation within a month, and the relevant authority was instructed to address the application within the subsequent month.

The Writ Petition was accordingly disposed of.

Cause Title: Rasa v. State of Odisha & Ors.

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