Exhumation - homeopathy360


Exhumation means to dig out, unearth or disinterment. It is done when a person is buried and subsequently doubts are raised regarding the cause of the death. The body is dug out and an autopsy is conducted to ascertain the cause of death. It is in cases of murders, poisoning and for identification of dead persons.

Rules and Procedure

  1. It is done only under the written order of a coroner or magistrate. The police have no authority to order exhumation.
  2. It is done in early hours of morning so that digging and autopsy are done on the same day. Everybody is expected to stand inward side so as to avoid inhalation of foul gases. Area is sprinkled with disinfectant, and person conducting the procedure is required to wear mask and gloves dipped in KMnO4 solution.
  3. The time and date of exhumation done is noted accurately.
  4. Must be done under the supervision of a Medical officer and Magistrate .
  5. The grave is first identified and after the grave and coffin is dug up it is identified by the undertaker. The body is identified by relatives before sending it for post mortem examination.
  6. There is no time limit for exhumation in India.
  7. Following parts are sent for laboratory procedures:
    • Sand: About 500 gm from below, above and that was in actual contact with body is sent in different packets.
    • Hair: Hair from head and pubic region.
    • Nails, teeth, and bones (ends of long bones).
    • Viscera: Liver (500 gm), stomach and intestines (initial 50 cm), with their contents.

      Exhumation is done in cases of suspected arsenic poisoning, as arsenic remains in the dead tissue of nail, teeth and bones for a very long period. Arsenic also being a component of soil, its content is measured in soil and body, and if quantity is high in body than in soil, it is definitely a case of arsenic poisoning.

      Reference: A Handbook of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology by Dr Madona Joseph & Dr Harpreet Kaur

About the author

Dr Purnima Rani

Dr Purnima Rani, M.D. (Hom.) in Repertory from Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar University, Agra and completed her B.H.M.S. from Nehru Homoeopathic Medical College & Hospital, having clinical experience of 4+ years.