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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 42-46

Infanticide: A Concept

1 Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
2 Deparment of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, Gandhi Medical College, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India
3 National Law Institute University, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Hans Raj Singh
Department of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Bhopal - 462 020, Madhya Pradesh
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_51_15

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Infanticide is killing of a child <12 months of age by a mother who has not fully recovered from the effects of pregnancy, giving birth and lactation, and suffers some degree of mental disturbance. However, in India, infanticide means unlawful destruction of a newly born child and is regarded as murder in law and is punishable under section 302 completely neglecting postpartum psychiatric state of mothers' mind. Several studies have indicated a high incidence of postpartum depression in mother of developing as well as developed countries. The lack of awareness in medical fraternity, legal experts, and society leads to miscarriage of justice. In this article, we have compared legal status of infanticide in various countries vis-a-vis India and thus tried to arrive at a more humane and pragmatic approach in cases of infanticide keeping in mind the psychological state of mother, gender inequality, weak public health infrastructure, and the prevalent practice of homicide of unwanted/female child. A psychiatric or medical assessment model of mother by panel of experts in case of infanticide should be evolved. Information and awareness of postpartum psychiatric illness among medical professionals, legal persons, and society is an important aspect.

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