The Forensic Department of Khyber Medical College University has proposed a set of charges for its forensic services.
Under the proposed plan, medical examination of rape victims will cost Rs25,000 and the charges for autopsy will be Rs5,000 for the local residents of Peshawar.
Furthermore, the charges for keeping dead bodies in the cold storage will be Rs1500 per 24 hours. For DNA testing Rs18,000 fixed charges have been suggested.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the Management Committee held on February 14 in which 17 new charges were approved.
“We provide forensic facilities to the law enforcement agencies, courts and other departments which include autopsy, medico-legal examination, age estimation, toxicology and DNA analysis,” an official of the department told The Express Tribune, adding that the decision to introduce 17 new charges was taken to meet the operational expenditures of the Forensic Department.
“For the district Peshawar autopsy cases the department will charge Rs5,000 per case while for the cases referred from other districts the charges will be Rs25,000 per postmortem,” he said, adding that for kinship and paternity test Rs20,000 fee has been proposed.
“For drug abuse analysis Rs3,000 charges have to be paid. Urine test and alcohol analysis will cost Rs2,000. Test for poison detection to cost Rs4,000 while freezer charges for dead bodies will be Rs1,500 per 24 hours,” he informed this correspondent.
It is worth mentioning here that unclaimed bodies are sent to the Khyber Medical College University for cold storage by the local police where they are stored sometimes for months till their identification and retrieval by the family.
Police Department already has a limited investigation budget and the introduction of such high charges will likely force local police stations to ask the victims’ families to pay for not only autopsy but also DNA tests and medical examination of rape victims.
“When you go to a police station they often ask you to pay for the diesel for police mobiles. Now they will ask the general public to pay the charges of autopsy and even medical examination of rape victims. So the decision is not a welcome one,” said a rights activist Tamur Kamal while talking to The Express Tribune.
When contacted Dean Khyber Medical College University Dr Mehmood Aurangzeb said that the introduction of 17 new charges for forensic services was just a proposal discussed in the BoG meeting.
“The most difficult medical procedure is autopsy as doctors are obliged to go to courts for their opinion. They even face threats from the affected parties”, he said.
He said it was just an initial proposal and will only be implemented once the government gives the go-ahead.
“The revenue generated from these charges will go to government exchequer and the financial gains from it will strengthen the hospital and college services,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 19th, 2021.