Section II—The Medical Officer
  1. Subject to the control of the Superintendent in all matters except the medical treatment of the sick, the Medical Officer shall have charge of the sanitary administration of the prison, and shall perform such duties as are detailed in this Code or as are prescribed from time to time by proper authority. His duties shall embrace every matter affecting the health of the prisoners and the general hygiene of the The Medical Officer shall be under the general control of the Inspector-General of Prisons.

In a jail where there is an Assistant Medical Officer, he shall exercise generally the powers and functions of the Medical Officer subject to the control of the latter.

  1. The Superintendent of a jail shall, if also a Medical Officer, be the Medical Officer of the If he be not a Medical Officer, the District Medical Officer of Health of the district in which the jail is situated shall be the Medical Officer of such jail.
  2. Whenever the Medical Officer of a district jail is temporarily absent from the station, his duties shall be performed by the senior Medical Subordinate of the station.
  3. When the Medical Officer is not also the Superintendent he shall maintain a Minute Book in Register No. 1, in which he shall enter on the left-hand page the date of his visit, any observations, recommendations, or orders he may wish to make; and on the right-hand the Jailor shall report, in the case of an order, how the order has been carried out, and the Superintendent shall endorse the recommendations made, or state his objections thereto, if If the Superintendent is unable, or is of opinion that it is impossible or inexpedient, to comply with any recommendation made by the Medical Officer, he shall submit a copy of the minute to the Inspector-General and state his reasons for not carrying out the recommendation. See Rules 109 and 258.

All matters concerning the medical staff and the medical administration of a jail including its sanitary aspect should be disposed of by the Superintendent in consultation with the Medical Officer who will record his observations whenever necessary in his Minute Book. If there is a difference of opinion between the Superintendent and the Medical Officer, a reference should invariably be made to the Inspector-General for final orders.

  1. He shall visit the jail once a day (except on Sundays and on that day also, if necessary) and more frequently, if necessary. He shall at least once in every week inspect every part of the jail and its precincts, and shall satisfy himself that nothing exists therein which is likely to be injurious to the health of the prisoners, that the drainage is satisfactory, that the water supplied is pure and not liable to pollution, that due precautions against overcrowding are taken, and that the ventilation and cleanliness of the barracks, workshops, cells, yards, , are provided for and properly attended to. He shall also frequently inspect the kitchens and pantries and attend feeding parades, and shall test the weight, and quality of the rations both before and after cooking.
  2. He shall visit the patients in hospital daily as soon after sunrise as he can conveniently do so. This duty shall not be delegated to any subordinate. He shall also examine prisoners complaining of illness, and admit them, if necessary into hospital. In case of malingering by prisoner he shall at once report the guilty party to the Superintendent for punishment, or, if he is himself the Superintendent, punish the
  3. He shall inspect all the prisoners once a week at a general parade and shall from time to time examine the labouring prisoners while they are employed; he shall at least once a fortnight cause to be recorded upon the history ticket of each prisoner employed on labour the weight of such prisoner at the time, and shall cause prisoners losing weight to be paraded apart for the special attention both of himself and of the When the Medical Officer is of opinion that the health of any prisoner suffers from employment in any kind or class of labour, he shall record such opinion in the prisoner’s history ticket and such prisoner shall not be employed in that work, but shall be placed on such other kind or class of labour as the Medical Officer may consider suited for him.
  4. Whenever the Medical Officer shall have reason to believe that either the mind or the body of a prisoner is likely to be injuriously affected by the discipline or treatment observed in the prison he shall, after careful scrutiny (as convicts are prone to feign insanity), report the case in writing to the Superintendent, accompanied by such suggestions as he may think the case requires.

Co-operation between the Supdt. and the


Jail Cir. Letter No. 76(13)

of 6-1-49.

Duties of the Medical Officer. Rules 341,1181


Medical Officer

to visit the patients, viz.,

the hospital every day. Rules 1231,119


Medical examina- tion of labouring prisoners.

Sec. 35, Act. IX of 1894. Rules

646,1217. Rules

507, 553, 784.

Alteration or suspension of ordinary rules of discipline and treatment to prevent injury to prisoner’s health or mind.

  1. O. No. 5810-RJ. of 22-4-27.

Medical Officer to exercise general supervision over the diet of prisoners. Rules 1106,1103


Medical Officer to hold post-mortem examination in case of unnatural death or where the cause of death is unknown.

G.O. No. 3179-HJ. of 29-3-24.

Particulars to be recorded in the Hospital Register on death of a prisoner. Sec. 15, Act IX of 1894.

Rules 558, 84A.

The Superintendent shall thereupon, submit his recommendations to the Inspector-General, suggesting the manner in which he proposes to alter or suspend the ordinary rules of discipline and treatment with regard to the prisoner. The Inspector-General shall then pass the necessary orders on the Superintendent’s recommendations. A report on every such case with sufficient detail shall forthwith be submitted to Government for information.

In case of extreme urgency, the Superintendent may in anticipation of the Inspector-General’s sanction, take all such remedial measures as have been recommended by him.

NOTE—Under the powers conferred by this rule it will be possible whenever in the opinion of the Medical Officer the usual diet scale in force in a prison or the usual scale of clothing or bedding is so unsuitable to a prisoner as to impair or likely to impair his health, to recommend the issue of such special dietary or such special clothing or bedding as may seem best suited to meet the needs of the case. Similarly in regard to labour, if any form of labour is found to be injuriously affecting a prisoner it should be changed.

  1. He shall exercise a general supervision over the supplies and preparation of food and shall reject any article that he considers unfit for He shall from time to time vary the general diet in the manner prescribed in Chapter XXXVI. He may order any addition to or alteration of diet for the sick, special gangs, convalescents, the aged and infants.
  2. In the event of the death of a prisoner in the jail, if death is suspected to have been due to causes other than natural causes, or if the cause of death is not known, he shall make a complete post-mortem examination of the In other cases, he shall see the body and shall satisfy himself as to the cause of death; if he is also the Superintendent of the Jail, he shall then pass orders for disposing of the body in accordance with the religion or custom of the community or caste to which the deceased prisoner belonged; if he is not the Superintendent he shall report the cause of death to the Superintendent, who shall then pass orders for disposing of the body.
  3. B.––In all cases, whether a post-mortem examination is or is not made, the reason for the action taken should be explained in the monthly sick return No. 29.
  4. On the death of any prisoner, the Medical Officer shall forthwith record in Hospital Register 27 the following particulars, so far as these can be ascertained, namely :
  • the day on which the deceased first complained of

illness or was observed to be ill;

  • the labour, if any, on which he was engaged on that

day ;

  • the scale of his diet on that day ;
  • the day on which he was admitted into hospital ;
  • the day on which the Medical Officer was first informed of the illness ;
  • the nature of the disease ;
  • when the deceased was last seen before his death by

ficerthoer Medical OSuf bordinate ;

  • when the prisoner died ; and
  • (in cases where a post-mortem examination is made)

an account of the appearances after death ;

together with any special remarks that appear to the Medical Officer to be required. The prisoner’s history ticket and hospital bed-head ticket (with temperature chart, if any) shall be kept for two years.

  1. Whenever the mortality in a jail during any month exceeds one per , the Medical Officer shall record in the monthly return his opinion as to the cause to which the excess is to be attributed and any observations he may have to offer on the subject. If there is very unusual mortality he shall make a special report to the Inspector-General for transmission to Government.
  2. All prisoners prior to being removed to any other prison shall be examined by the Medical Officer. No prisoner shall be removed from one prison to another unless the Medical Officer certifies that the prisoner is free from any illness rendering him unfit for removal. No prisoner shall be discharged against his will from prison if labouring under any acute or dangerous distemper, nor until in the opinion of the Medical Officer, such discharge is safe to himself and the general community. The death of any prisoner so detained shall not be included in the jail statistics of
  3. The Medical Officer shall attend all members of the jail staff and their families who reside on the jail premises. He may, however, depute the Medical Subordinate to attend all slight cases among the subordinate staff. Medicines required for the treatment of members of the jail staff and their families shall be supplied from jail stores on the prescription of the Medical Officer or the Medical Medicines which are (i) expensive proprietary preparations for which cheaper substitutes of equal therapeutic effect are available and (ii) preparations including tonics which are primarily foods, toilets, disinfectants, appliances, dressing etc., should not, however, be supplied to the member of the jail staff and their families.

Unusual mortality to be reported.

Examination of prisoner before removal to other prison. Section 26, Act IX of 1894.

Rules 843, 862.

Medical Officer to attend members of the Jail staff.

Rule 133.


Director-General of Health Services letter No.S-II/53 M II, of 5254.

  1. O. No. 197-HJ. of 17-1-55.

Medical Officer to keep proper account of medicines and other stores.

Administrative Offices (Stores). Health Services No. 3724-ST of


Correspondence with l.G.

The Medical Officer shall bring to the notice of the Superintendent any facts respecting the causes of illness that may be of importance in enabling him to determine as to the fitness or otherwise of a subordinate for continued employment in the jail service.

  1. The Medical Officer shall—
  • submit for the sanction of the Inspector-General, the quarterly indents, in H.S., West Bengal Form No. 30 (outer) and No. 31 (inner), for medicines and medical stores for his jail in due time for supply from the stores of the Directorate of Health Services under the State Government ;
  • keep or cause to be kept a proper account including daily expenditure of medicines, instruments and appliances; showing therein, if any article is missing, whether it has been broken by accident or carelessness or whether it has been lost and the name of the Medical Subordinate responsible for it ;
  • satisfy himself that poisons are kept separate from other medicines properly labelled and under lock and key ;
  • cause a list of scheduled poisons (W.B.J. Form 113) to be hung up in the dispensary ;
  • cause a copy of Poisons and Antidotes (W.B.J. Form 112) to be hung up in every dispensary ;
  • from time to time examine the medicines in store to assure himself that they are in a fit condition for use ;
  • regularly check the amount of medicines purchased locally ;
  • be responsible that all medicines, instruments, appliances and other medical stores charged in the jail accounts, are faithfully and solely expended in the service of the jail ;
  • satisfy himself that all hospital and other records of sick and convalescent gang prisoners are duly kept up to date by the Medical Subordinate ; and
  • specify in his Minute Book the duties allotted to each of his subordinate, so that responsibility for mistakes and dereliction of duty may be fixed with
  1. He shall ordinarily correspond with the Inspector-General through the Superintendent, on any matter connected with the jail or prisoners.
Section lII—The Medical Subordinate
  1. The Medical Subordinates should be selected from the Department of Health for service in jails. Medical Subordinates during the period of their deputation to the Jail Department, which exclusive of leave, will ordinarily be limited to three years, shall be formally placed at the disposal of the Inspector-General and shall not be liable to be withdrawn by the Department of Health without his

106A. In case any disciplinary action is considered necessary against a Medical Subordinate deputed to the Jail Department, proceedings should be drawn up in the usual way and action taken in terms of rule 10 of the Bengal Subordinate Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1936. In accordance with these rules, the borrowing department shall consult the leading authority before imposing any penalty other than removal or dismissal (except suspension). In case of suspension, a report shall forthwith be made to the lending department stating the circumstances lending to the imposition of the penalty. In cases where it is considered that the punishment of removal or dismissal should be inflicted, the borrowing department should complete the enquiry and revert the officer concerned to the lending department for such action as the latter may consider necessary to take subject to the provision of Article 311 of the Constitution of India.

  1. Medical Subordinates shall not be permitted to engage in private practice. They will draw in addition to their pay a non- practising allowance according to the scale prescribed in West Bengal Health Service (Cadre, Pay and Allowance) Rules, 1958 and West Bengal Health Service (Pay, Allowance and Promotion of Non-Gazetted Medical Officers) Rules,
  2. (1 ) After the close of each year, the Inspector-General may grant a special reward in addition to his regular pay to any Medical Subordinate, who in that year during his connection with a jail has done thoroughly good work in all branches of his duties and is recommended by the Medical This special reward will be granted in a single payment after the close of the calendar year, and must be within the limits of the sanctioned lump allotment in the budget.
  • The grant of a reward will normally depend upon the opinion formed by the Inspector-General at his inspection of the Jail and on the recommendation of the Medical Officer of the The Inspector-General will base his opinion on the evidence of good work done as seen at his inspection; in the general health of the prisoners in the management of the hospital and the various infirm gangs; in the preparation and cooking of the food, both for ordinary prisoners and for those in hospital; in the general

Selection of Medical Subordinates.

Disciplinary action against Medical Subordinate.

Compensatory allowance to Medical Subordinates

for loss of private practice.

Award of Special reward to medical subordinates

for meritorious work.

G.O. No. 6322- RJ of 7-8-22.

Relation between the Medical Subordinate and other Jail officials.

W.B.F. No. 4980.

Hours of duty of Medical Subordi- nate.

sanitary condition of the jail; and in the management of epidemic diseases, if any such outbreak have occurred.

  • If there has been in any jail a change of Medical Subordinates during the year, the special reward, if sanctioned, shall be devided between the several incumbents in accordance with the recommendation of the Medical Officer and the opinion formed by the Inspector-General.
  1. (1) In all matters relating to, or connected with the feeding, clothing and medical treatment of hospital patients and other professional duties, the Medical Subordinate shall obey the orders of, and discharge such duties as may, from time to time be lawfully assigned to him by the Medical In matters relating to or connected with, the maintenance of order and discipline in, and the general management of the jail, he shall obey the orders of the Superintendent and the Jailor.

(2) The Medical Subordinate shall record in his report book (Register No. 1 ) and report to the Medical Officer all orders given to him by the Superintendent or Jailor.

  1. In Jails where there are more than one Medical Subordinate they shall be on duty in such manner and for such hours as the Medical Officer may At least one of them should always be in the jail premises, available on call. In jails where there are more than two Medical Subordinates, one of them shall always remain present in the jail hospital. In jails where there are one such officer and a Compounder, their hours of attendance should be so distributed between them by the Medical Officer that one or the other shall always be present in jail. The Medical Subordinates is provided with quarters within jail premises and should always be available on call. In Central Jails one of the Medical Subordinate and in District Jails in which necessary accommodation is available, either the Medical Subordinate or the Compounder, in turn, shall be required to sleep in the hospital from 10 p.m. until unlocking of the jail next day. The Medical Subordinate and the Compounder shall be present in the jail while the Medical Officer is attending the sick and also at such times as he considers necessary.

In a jail where there is only one whole-time Medical Subordinate he shall be present in the jail throughout the day except when allowed to be absent for meal or for other sufficient reasons. Where the Medical Subordinate is attached to a neighbouring institution he shall visit the jail early in the morning before attending to other duties and again in the evening before lock up time. In any case of serious disease the Medical Subordinate should visit the hospital frequently at night and see that the prescribed medicines and food have been distributed, and must be prepared at all times, to attend when his services are called for.

  1. At the opening of the wards the Medical Subordinate shall at once see any prisoners complaining of If necessary he will send them immediately to hospital, but if he thinks this unnecessary he will bring them to the notice of the Medical Officer on his arrival. He shall keep in book form a register or list of all prisoners kept under medical observation from day to day. He shall also see that medicines are distributed to prisoners of the extramural gangs who need them, and shall then go round the hospital visiting each patient and doing whatever is needful for him at the same time making notes of the condition or progress of the cases on the bed-head tickets for the information of the Medical Officer.
  2. He shall every morning visit the “convalescent” and “Special” gangs and prisoners kept under observation and see that medicines are distributed to those requiring them, and that they get the special food, clothing, bedding, and rest ordered for If any prisoner is removed from the “convalescent” or”special” gangs without the authority of the Medical Officer, he shall report the matter to the Medical Officer.
  3. He shall visit all prisoners confined in cells daily, and report to the Medical Officer any complaints that may have been made to him.
  4. He shall see that all medicines are correctly prepared, that the medicine almirah is kept locked up and all poisons are kept He shall write up the hospital diet books and make the necessary indents on the proper jail officers. He shall also see that the food is properly prepared and distributed to the sick.
  5. He shall keep all the hospital registers written up to date, shall punctually prepare and submit to the Medical Officer monthly and other returns, and be generally responsible for the hospital records.
  6. He shall see that the surgical instruments are kept in good order, and ensure the safe keeping and cleanliness of clothing, bedding, blankets, , issued for use in the hospital. Any deficiency in stock should be reported to the Medical Officer.
  7. He shall be responsible for the maintenance of cleanliness, order and discipline in the hospital, and for the strict observance of all jail He shall see that the Compounder and hospital attendants do their duty and that any want of, or excess of hospital attendants is brought to notice.
  8. When any prisoner is so seriously ill as to need the services of a special sick-attendant, the Medical Subordinate shall take the orders of the Medical Officer, who shall apply to the Superintendent for the services of a convicted prisoner for this If the Medical Officer is himself

Duties and responsibilities of Medical Subordinate.

Rules, 634,


Rule 807.

Rule 104.

Rule 1235.

Rule 109.

Rules 789, 793.

Appointment of convicted prisoner as sick attendant.

Rule 793.

the Superintendent, he shall select and appoint a convict for this duty, and shall cause the fact to be entered in the convict’s history ticket.

Examination of prisoners suspected to be insane.

Rules 94, 740,

1225, 736.

Medical Subordinate to attend parades.

Cases of bowel complaint to be treated in a separate word.

Rules 1242,1201.

Examination and record of particulars in cases of new

admissions. Rules 505, 507.

Rules 506, 544.

No sick-attendant should be changed without the written order of the Superintendent. The names of convicted prisoners who are selected as general hospital or sick-attendants shall be recorded, and the fact of such duty entered on their history tickets, and they shall not be changed without the written order of the Superintendent.

NOTE — For detailed rules regarding Nursing Hospital Orderlies see Appendix 31;

  1. The Medical Subordinate shall carefully watch all prisoners who may possibly be malingering, and bring such cases to the notice of the Medical All prisoners who are suspected to be insane shall be examined by him daily, and a report of their mental condition submitted to the Medical Officer.
  2. He shall be present at the Superintendent’s weekly inspection parade., He should also frequently attend the various other parades, and separate for treatment any prisoner whose appearance or manner denotes that he is not in his usual
  3. He shall arrange that all patients suffering from bowel complaint are treated in a separate ward and that the evacuations of such patients are laid out for the Medical Officer’s inspection in such a way as to leave no dobut as to the identity of the patient who passed them severally. After examination by the Medical Officer he shall see that such evacuations are properly disinfected and disposed of.

When the Medical Officer visits the jail, the Medical Subordinate shall accompany him on his round and take notes of any orders given by him regarding the treatment of the sick or the sanitation of the Jail.

  1. He shall carefully examined all new admissions to the jail, and under the Medical Officer’s supervision record in the Admission Register their state of health, weight, personal marks, including marks of wounds, vaccination or inoculation. Undertrial prisoners should be specially examined for marks of wounds, bruises, , and any other thing which may be useful to the Courts, the result being reported to the Medical Officer and duly recorded. If a prisoner is received from the police bearing marks of injury not mentioned in the police report, he shall at once bring the fact to the notice of the Superintendent who shall fothwith send a report to the District Magistrate. He will see that the entries required by rules 553 and 554 are noted on the history tickets. He will satisfy himself that the private clothing of newly admitted prisoners is cleansed and disinfected, if necessary, before removal to the godown.
  2. Under instructions of the Medical Officer, he shall see that all the prisoners and infants are vaccinated as soon as possible after admission into the jail.
  3. If he has reason to believe that any female prisoner is pregnant, he shall report the circumstance to the Medical
  4. He shall at once bring to the notice both of the Medical Officer and the Superintendent any case of infectious disease. In case of serious injury from accident, communicate with the Medical Officer; and every factory accident or serious injury to a prisoner from any accident shall at once be reported to the
  5. He shall inspect the food godowns and kitchens daily, see that these, and all vessels for cooking or distributing food are clean and that all food materials, vegetables, , are of good quality, properly husked, washed and prepared and sufficient in quantity. He shall keep samples of anything he considers to be unwholesome for the Medical Officer’s inspection. Should he consider the quality or quantity of food to be unsatisfactory, he should immediately report the fact to the Medical Officer. He should inspect all meat, fish and milk supplied for the prisoners from whatever source, and report at once, for rejection, anything unfit for food. He will see that milk is properly boiled before issue to the prisoners ; and also inspect the food supplied to civil prisoners or to undertrial prisoners by their friends.
  6. He shall examine all food before it is distributed ; He shall see that it is properly cooked, and that the proper quantity of oil, salt and antiscorbutics have been added to each ration. He should bring to the notice of the Medical Officer any prisoner who frequently leaves a considerable portion of the food supplied to him, especially cases in which it appears that this is caused by failing health or is purposely done in order to cause reduction of weight on the day of weighment.
  7. He shall periodically examine the wells, tanks or other sources of water-supply and should bring to notice any deficiency of supply or likelihood of the water being polluted. He shall daily examine the filters, and all vessels in which water for drinking or cooking is stored or conveyed, and see that they are clean and in good working
  8. He shall daily inspect all latrines and urinals, and see that they are kept clean, that the conservancy rules are carried out, and that a sufficient quantity of dry earth is used and He should also see that the orders about ventilation of hospital wards, sleeping barracks, and workshops are properly attended to according to the season of

Vaccination of prisoners after admission. Rule 508.

Report of suspected pregnancy of female prisoners.

Rules 994, 995.

Reports of infectious diseases and accidents to Superintendent and Medical Officer.

Rules 811, 812.

Daily inspection of food godowns and kitchens.

  1. O. No. 7322-RJ. of 7-8-22.

Rules 901, 925,


Examination of food before distribution. Rule 119.

Periodical examination of wells, tanks or other sources of water supply.

Rule 1203.

Inspection of latrines and urinals.

Rule 1191.

Daily inspection of jail dairy and record of quantity of milk obtained and its expenditure.

Rules 1128,


Medical Subordinate to record weight of every prisoner in his history ticket. Rules 1216, 1219,


Medical Subordinate to report death of prisoner to Jailor and Medical Officer and assist in post- mortem examination. Rules 259, 98.

Medical aid to jail staff.

Rule 103.

Assistance to Medical Officer.

the year; that the prisoners while sleeping are not exposed to direct draughts or the fall of rain and that all the batten doors are freely opened during the day.

  1. The sheds in which milch cows are kept shall be examined by him He shall see that these places are kept clean and free from smell ; and that the vessels for boiling and holding milk are clean and fit for use. He shall keep a daily record of the quantity of milk obtained from the jail cows, and of its use, and shall report to the Superintendent any instance in which it is not all used for the benefit of the sick or for improving the diet of the prisoners.
  2. The fortnightly weighment of all prisoners as well as the weekly weighment of those who are infirm or losing weight, shall be made under the immediate superintendence of the Medical Subordinate, who shall record with his own hand the weight of each prisoner in his history In Central jails he may be assisted by another Medical Subordinate (if there is one, or by the Compounder or by a Jail Clerk) deputed by the Superintendent. All prisoners steadily losing weight shall be reported to the Medical Officer not later than the day after weighment.
  3. He shall report all deaths at once to the Jailor and the Medical Officer; see that a dead body is decently removed to the dead-house; make the necessary preparations for post-mortem examination; assist the Medical Officer in making such examination, and be responsible that the body is afterwards properly stitched and
  4. He shall afford medical aid to all the jail staff, warders, guards, and others living in the jail premises. In cases of difficulty he should consult the Medical
  5. In addition to his own proper duties as detailed above he shall render the Medical Officer every assistance, exercising general vigilance over all matters which can in any way affect the health of any of the inmates of the jail, and reporting to the Medical Officer any instance in which he believes that rules touching the health of the prisoners have been infringed; as for example, in such matters as the following :
  • Overcrowding of wards, workshops, or other spaces.
  • Incorrect weighment or distribution of food.
  • Unseasonable, worn-out, or dirty clothing.
  • Neglect of personal cleanliness.
  • Undue exposure of prisoners to rain or ( f ) Unpunctuality or curtailment of meals.
  • Neglect to air, dry or clean
  • Unsuitable tasks, especially in the case of weak men.
  • The use of workshops as dormitories or vice versa.
  • Deficient or incorrect use of important articles of diet, such as salt, spices, oils and antiscorbutics.