What is Psychological Autopsy? Burari suicide: Delhi Police conducting Psychological Autopsy.

Psychological Autopsy Burari suicide

Autopsy– Simple meaning is a post-mortem examination to discover the cause of death or the extent of disease,wherein a thorough examination of a corpse by dissection to determine the cause and manner of death  to evaluate any disease or injury is done with highly specialized process in the guidance of some expert of related field.

This is mainly or more commonly we hear in medical terms wherein the corpse involved is a dead body mainly of human. Same way there is another process called Psychological Autopsy but in it physical body is not involved but the mental state examination of deceased.

Psychological Autopsy was evolved to know or clarify the cause of death where precise mode of death is unclear.

The 11 members family  suicide in Burari in mysterious circumstances which puzzled the police of Delhi has now ready to do this Psychological Autopsy to understand the cause or psyche of victims as why they took the extreme step.

The discovery of two notebooks in the house detailing as “How to End the Life to attain moksha or salvation” has further convinced of doing the “Psychological Autopsy”


It’s an important research tool in forensic science wherein a collection & analysis of information on the deceased through a procedure of structured interviews of the victims’ relatives. It is an attempt to understand the mental state of the deceased through some structured interview done on the relatives of victims.

Psychology.com says the information  collected is classified into three categories:
1-Biographical information (age, marital status, occupation).
2-Personal information (relationships, lifestyle, alcohol/drug use, sources of stress).
3-Secondary information (family history, police records, diaries)

Its not new to India  as  its already done in two earlier high profile cases
Sunanda Pushkar death case  &  2006 Nithari Killings (in Uttar Pradesh).


According to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), conducting a psychological autopsy would involve collecting information on the deceased through structured interviews of family members, friends and relatives as well as healthcare personnel. Information is also collected from healthcare and psychiatric records.

Also,  The Quint has reported that, Various psychologists have also pointed out that a major drawback of this technique is structural bias, where the investigator’s opinions are mixed by his/her own interpretation and experiences. That leads to pointing fingers on this technique.




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