December 4, 2020

Identification, Types and its Medicolegal importance


It is the recognition of a person by certain physical characteristics that is unique to the individual.

            i.e., the determination of the individuality of a person


  • Complete (absolute or positive) – Absolute fixation of the identity of an individual
  • Incomplete (partial) – Ascertainment of only some features of identity like age, sex, etc


Identification is necessary in

  1. Living persons
  2. Recently dead persons
  3. Decomposed bodies
  4. Skeletons
  5. Civil cases
    • Inheritance of property
    • To get a passport, insurance claims, etc
    • Marriage
    • Interchange of newborns in hospitals
    • Impersonation
    • Missing persons
  6. Criminal cases
    • To identify accused and victim assault, murder, and sexual offenses
    • Kidnapping
    • Fires and explosions
    • Traffic and aircraft accidents
    • Earthquakes, floods, and mass disasters
    • Absconding criminals
    • Unknown dead bodies were seen on the road, railway, water, etc


It means body of crime or essence of crime.

It includes dead body and all material evidences and facts relating to the offence like blood stains, bullets, knife, photographs etc


The data required for identification as follows

  1. Race
  2. Religion and caste
  3. Sex
  4. Age
  5. Stature
  6. Anthropometric measurements
  7. Galton’s system
  8. Superimposition
  9. Acquired anomalies – scars, tattoo marks, occupational marks, etc
  10. Congenital anomalies – birthmarks, cleft palate, etc
  11. DNA analysis
  12. Hair
  13. Iris identification
  14. Gait, tricks of manner, complexion, habits, speech, voice, clothes, etc
  15. Teeth

Consider a group of features for the identification because a single character is not reliable for identification.

Identification of living persons:

  • Identification Parade – To identify a suspect from a group of similar-looking persons
  • Hand writing, gait, speech
  • Photography, facial description
  • Fingerprints, Footprints
  • DNA fingerprinting

Identification of dead bodies:

  • Primary characteristics
    • Age
    • Sex
    • Stature
  • Secondary characteristics
    • Race, religion, nationality
    • Congenital and acquired deformities
    • Personal belongings like pocket contents, clothes, ornaments, etc
  • Comparative characteristics
    • Fingerprints, Footprints
    • Dental patterns
    • Anthropometry
    • Superimposition
    • DNA

Assistant Professor, Father Muller Homoeopathic Medical College, Mangalore

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