Insanity under IPC – 7

Section 84.15 Sentencing- Battered woman syndrome- The accused woman pleaded guilty to manslaughter on an indictment for murder. She was a young woman aged 20. She began a sexual relationship with the deceased when she was 14 and began to live with him when she was 16. She had a miscarriage and on two occasions took overdoses. The deceased became violent towards her two or three times each week. She sought psychiatric help and on two occasions came to the attention of the police.

In 1998 she decided to end the relationship and there was an argument which developed into a fight. She picked up a knife and waved it at the deceased, telling him to leave. In this case, she was sentenced to four years’ detention in a young offender institution. Her appeal against the sentence was allowed. In the light of the evidence, the Court reached that there were in the present case those exceptional circumstances which would allow the Court to take the unusual course of passing a sentence other than custody. The accused woman had been subject from a young age to persistent and prolonged violence from a man older than herself who was domineering and demanding.

Since her arrest she had made remarkable progress, and a custodial sentence would be likely to damage and possibly bring to an end that rehabilitation. She had served the equivalent of a sentence of 12 months and it was appropriate to give her the opportunity to continue her progress. The Court accordingly quashed the sentence of four years’ detention in a young offender institution and substituted a probation order.

Section 84.16 CASES- Defense not made out- Accused came to the house one day prior to the occurrence, demanded money and threatened the deceased of grave consequences and on the next day, when the demand was not fulfilled, he trespassed into the house, pushed away PWs 1 and 2, bolted the door from inside and inflicted repeated aruval blows on the deceased that resulted into her death. All these aspects also show that at the relevant time, he was not insane as claimed by him. Accused committed murder of two persons and caused injuries to another.

Testimony of witnesses was found cogent and reliable and there was no material on the basis of which it could be inferred that at the time of commission of offence the accused was of unsound [1]mind to such an extent that by reason of such unsoundness, he was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or knowing that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law, plea of insanity rejected. Mere taking treatment earlier in Mental Hospital itself is not sufficient proof of total insanity of person.

The accused killed his wife and daughter with an axe. He attended Kirtan (rendering of religious hymns) a night before. He carried the corpses in a hand-cart and made his statement before the police. His confessional statement was recorded by a competent judicial magistrate. He found no noticeable abnormality of mind or mental disorderliness. Even on his examination under Section 313, CrPC, 1973 he showed the soundness of mind. It was held that he was not entitled to the benefit of Section 84.

Section 84.17 When to be pleaded- The plea cannot be raised for the first time before the Supreme Court for which no foundation was established before

Section 84.18 Investigation of Offence namely the general exceptions- The duty cast upon the investigating officer to investigate into the mental condition of the accused are very important. The Supreme Court held that, where during the investigation previous history of insanity is revealed, it is the duty of an honest investigator to subject the accused to a medical examination and place that evidence before the Court and if this is not done, it creates a serious infirmity in the prosecution case and the benefit of doubt has to be given to the accused.

The Division Bench of High Court of Kerala observed that even if all the acts constituting an offence as per definition in IPC, 1860 are committed by a person, if an investigating officer finds on investigation that by reason of unsoundness of mind, accused was incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he was doing what is either wrong or contrary to law, as stated in Section 84 1860 he shall not a file a charge sheet against such person. The Court also held that the investigating officer is bound to investigate and confirm that despite what is contained in the “General Exceptions” acts committed by accused shall constitute offence under IPC, 1860. But the Single Bench of the High Court of Kerala, later, held that the ingredients of Section 84 can only be taken as a defense during trial and it is not possible to throw out the Final Report in a case on the ground that the concerned accused was suffering from legal insanity

Section 84.19 ProcedureChapter XXV of CrPC, 1973 deals with provisions as to accused persons of unsound mind.

Section 85- Nothing is an offense which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, by reason of intoxication, incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong, or contrary to law; provided that the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge against his will.

COMMENTUnder this Section a person will be exonerated from liability for doing an act while in a state of intoxication if he at the time of doing it, by reason of intoxication, was

  • Incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or
  • That he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to law;

Provided that the thing which intoxicated him was administered to him without his knowledge or against his will

Voluntary drunkenness is no excuse for the commission of a crime. A person cannot become himself drunk with liquor and commit an offence and then come and say that he had consumed the liquor and therefore, the benefit of Section 85 should be given to him.

The law pronounces that the obscuration and divestment of that judgment and human feeling which in a sober state would have prevented the accused from offending, shall not, when produced by his voluntary act, screen him from punishment, although he be no longer capable of self-restraint. It is also no excuse to say that because of it he failed to resist the impulse to act in a certain way or that because of it he acted like automation.

Aishwarya Says:

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You may also like to read:

Solitary Confinement – Aishwarya Sandeep

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