This implies to a court of inquiry into the cause of death in the event of homicide, suicide or accident, or sudden death from unknown causes or that anyone being a prisoner died in prison and his body lies with the place for which the coroner was appointed, the coroner must investigate the cause of death. Such an investigation must be conducted with the help of a jury.
An inquest is needed to be held in a case where a prisoner has died in prison from cholera or any epidemic. The coroner can order the exhumation of a body. The coroner is empowered to order a post-mortem examination with or without analysis of the viscera, to be done by any medical witness who is called for attending an inquest, and such a medical witness other than the chemical examiner with the government will be entitled to reasonable remuneration, as the coroner sees fit.
In India, only the cities of Bombay (now Mumbai) and Calcutta had coroners. Later the coroner’s system was withdrawn from Calcutta, and after some time from Bombay (now Mumbai) also. The coroner’s court was established in India in 1902. In other cities and provinces, although they rarely act as such. The preliminary investigation is carried out by the police in correspondence with the civil surgeon. In the coroner’s court, no accused need to be present, but any suspected person should, if possible, be present. He/she has the right to produce witnesses, to cross-examine witnesses, either himself or through counsel, and to make any statement he deems appropriate. The coroner’s court also inquires into the guilt of a suspected person and renders a verdict specifying the offense of the suspected person, for example: reckless and negligent act, culpable homicide amounting to murder and so on.
The coroner in India has the power to engage directly with the Session Court. When a magistrate sits in his capacity as magistrate and not as coroner, the accused must be present. In this court, the investigation is not about the cause of death, but about the guilt of an accused who is accused of a specific crime. If the accusation is so serious that it escapes the power of the magistrate, he records the evidence and refer the case to the higher court. If the accusation is of an insignificant nature, the magistrate can deal with it summarily.
In the event of sudden and unexpected death occurring in his practice, the doctor should not give a death certificate, unless he/she can conscientiously certify the true cause of death, even if the relatives of the deceased urge him/her to do so as to avoid the publicity of an inquest. He/she should report the matter directly to the police or coroner. By issuing a certificate in a case of death for a cause unknown to him, the doctor runs the risk of being accused of being an accomplice in a crime, if the death is ultimately found to be due to a criminal act.