Modi’s medical jurisprudence and toxicology
Arora, V K
Modi’s medical jurisprudence and toxicology, 22nd ed. BX Subrahmanyam, Ed. (Butterworths India, New Delhi) 1999. 1351 pages. Price: Rs.895/ISBN 81-87162-07-4
There is no paucity of forensic medicine books each with its own educational value. What was still wanting is a comprehensive coverage of the field which would provide the readers in a concise form with the information required for the critical interpretation of its findings and the better assessment of their limitations in the present day of knowledge.
The very first edition of this excellent book authored by Dr J.P Modi claimed acceptance as the pre-eminent general text in medical jurisprudence especially in context of the Indian conditions. Since then as many as 22 editions are indicative of the consistent popularity and demand of this book. The format of the new edition has been changed with more text and illustrations incorporated.
The book is well set out and covers the subject in a very precise and lucid manner. The text comprises of two major sections viz., medical jurisprudence and toxicology, with 25 and 14 chapters respectively in these sections’, further supported by a section on appendices. It begins with the overview of legal procedures and the history of forensic medicine and then delves into the respective chapters dedicated to the specialized areas. Much of the information contained in the first two chapters is very basic but then this is not a criticism as the book is intended for use by all the functionaries of criminal justice system. As one goes ahead the chapters present the essence of forensic medicine in a very concise, compact and comprehensive manner omitting superfluous and confusing medical terminology. New dimensions of forensic medicine such as mercy killing, embalming, postmortem room care and custodial deaths etc., have also been incorporated. The inclusion of the topic on ‘DNA fingerprinting’ though given a superficial coverage, strengthens the necessity of incorporating the latest trends. The chapter on wounds in particular gives an excellent introduction and overview of injuries and their interpretation. However, the chapter on biological stains and hair fails to leave the desired impact. Likewise the subject matter on forensic ballistics needs updating and more description on vital details. A separate section on ‘Toxicology’ covers the entire spectrum of poisons and poisonous products, their mode of action and detection etc. At the end of the book are some very useful appendices included in the section III of the book.
With 1351 pages of text and more than 2000 references included and 27 pages of indexing the book takes the reader almost anywhere one wants to go in the field of forensic medicine. Medicolegal facts pertaining to the many and varied cases are supported by illustrations. Every illustration is completed by a clear description and enables the reader to rightly comprehend the salient features of a specific case or postmortem artifact.
This exclusively illustrated well organized volume will certainly remain a source of intellectual pleasure and knowledge for medical practitioners, medical student, detectives, attorneys, forensic scientists and others for many years to come.
Dr V.K. Arora
National Institute of Criminology and Forensic Science (Ministry of Home Affairs)
Rohini, Delhi H 0085
Copyright Indian Council of Medical Research Oct 1999
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