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Instances when defence is Accepted or Rejected

 

Accepted

Rejected

Etwa Oraon vs. The State

Filed under: Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Etwa Oraon
Respondent: The State
Citation: AIR 1961 Patna 355
Court: In the High Court of Patna
Judges: UN Sinha and GN Prasad

Etwa Oraon appealed against the order of the Sessions Judge that convicted him of murder under Section 302 and sentenced him to imprisonment for life.

Facts

Etwa Oraon was said to have killed Mango Oraon and Musammat Charia in an orchard. On the day of the incident, Musammat was collecting wood under a tree in an orchard, which was located a little away from the village.

Around the same time, Mango was carrying a basket of sag to sell in the village. Etwa came to the orchard and hit Musammat with a lathi and she fell down. He then assaulted Mango who was trying to run away from the spot.

The incident was witnessed by Mango's daughter who raised an alarm. Etwa ran towards a village throwing the lathi on the way in a ditch. Both Mango and Musammat succumbed to their injuries. A villager lodged a First Information Report (FIR).

The police conducted the investigation and the trial was held by the Additional Judicial Commissioner who held Etwa guilty of murder. Etwa appealed to the High Court.

Arguments

On behalf of Etwa it was argued that he was a person of unsound mind and was entitled to exception under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code.

Observations of the Court

After referring to some of the earlier decisions of the Supreme Court, the Court observed that in the light of the principles laid down in the previous decisions, the circumstances relevant to establish the defence of insanity would have to be shown.

It had to be established from materials on record, whether the accused was suffering from unsoundness of mind of such a degree that he was incapable of knowing either the nature of his acts or that what he was doing was wrong or contrary to law.

The Court observed that the evidence showed that Etwa had a history of insanity a few months prior to the occurrence. It was clear that he was of unsound mind as he was kept chained at home and whenever he was released roamed the village threatening to hurt people.

Further, there was good reason to believe that the murders of the two women, Mango and Musammat had been committed when Etwa was suffering an attack of mental illness.

For the above reasons, the Court was of the opinion that Etwa was not guilty and acquitted him of charges under Section 302 of Indian Penal Code. The conviction was set aside and the appeal was allowed.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code

Cases Referred:

  • Parbhoo vs. Emperor, AIR 1941 All 402 (V 28): 43 Cri LJ 177 (FB)
  • State vs. Chotelal Gangadin Gadariya, AIR 1959 Madh Pra 203 (V 46): 1959 Cri LJ 718
  • In re Pappathi Ammal, AIR 1959 Mad 239 (V 46): 1959 Cri LJ 724
  • In re Raju Shetty, AIR 1960 Mys 48 (V 47)
  • Rambitram Ramadhar Dube vs. State of MP, AIR 1956 Nag 187
  • Emperor vs. Gedka Goala, AIR 1937 Pat 363 (V 24): 38 Cri LJ 846
  • Narain Sahi vs. Emperor, AIR 1947 Pat 222 (V 34): 48 Cri LJ 143
  • Prabhu Ram vs. The State, 1953 BLJR 606
  • Kamla Singh vs. The State, AIR 1955 Pat 209 (V 42):1955 Cri LJ 825

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Bolabhai Hirabhai vs. State of Gujarat

Filed under: Sections 76, 84,106,299 and 302 of Indian Penal Code Sections 91, 91(3) of Mental Health Act
Appellant: Bolabhai Hirabhai
Respondent: State of Gujarat
Citation: MANU/GJ/0406/2000
Court: In the High Court of Gujarat
Judges: J.N.Bhatt and J.N.Vora

This is an appeal against the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Sabarkantha convicting Bolabhai of murder.

Bolabhai murdered his wife, Jiji at home with an axe. Apparently, he believed that his wife was practising witch-craft as a result of which his health was affected. After killing his wife, he lay down the axe and walked away. This crime was reported to the police by Rashma Hira, Bolabhai's brother.

In the meantime, the villagers caught and confined Bolabhai till the police arrived. The investigation commenced on the basis of the complaint. During the investigation, an axe was recovered from the scene of the crime with blood stains on it.

Bolabhai pleaded insanity before the sessions Judge requesting benefits and sanctions under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code. After hearing the details of the case, the Judge convicted Bolabhai of murder. Bolabhai went on appeal to the High Court. An advocate was provided to him since he was poor.

Observations of the Court

After examining the relevant provisions of the law, the Court observed that in support of the defence of insanity Bolabhai would have to show that he was not capable of understanding consequences of his act (refer to quotes). From the evidence of various witnesses, the Court observed that -

  1. Bolabhai had been suffering from a mental disorder leading to unsoundness of mind long before the occurrence of the incident.
  2. his behaviour of hitting out at those around him reflected his instability of mind.
  3. restraint was required to control Bolabhai during times of his emotional outbursts and impulses.
  4. he had started hitting his wife in without any reason or motive, and the manner the axe had been abandoned in the place where the offence took place indicated that the events were not planned.
  5. he had to be kept in custody as he was in a very unstable state.
  6. he was under the treatment of a psychiatrist.
  7. he was known by the family and immediate society as being 'insane'.

Reviewing the above facts the Court opined that the Trial Court had committed a serious error by not examining the facts causing grave injustice to Bolabhai.

The Court held that his abnormal behavioural and mental conduct preceding and after the offence had been established and therefore, Bolabhai was entitled to the benefit of exception under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code.

Held: Appeal is allowed and Bolabhai was directed to be released.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 76, 84, 106, 299 and 302 of Indian Penal Code
  • Sections 91 of Mental Health Act

Cases Referred:

  • Dahyabhai vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 1964 SC 1563

Quotes from the Judgment:

"In support of the plea of insanity, what is required to be shown by the defence is the incapacity of the faculty of mind, transitorily, or regularly in knowing the result of the act, whether right or wrong, whether contrary to law or not". "…it is necessary to establish by defence, on the ground of insanity, that at the time at the time of committing the act leading to an offence, the accused was harbouring or labouring or suffering under such mental defect or psychological deficiency".

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Vidya Devi vs. State of Rajasthan

Filed under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Vidya Devi
Respondent: State of Rajasthan
Citation: 2004 CRI. L. J.2332
Court: In the High Court of Rajasthan
Judges: Rajesh Balia and Sunil Kumar Garg

This is an appeal against the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Bhilwara sentencing Vidya Devi to life imprisonment. The appeal was filed from jail and since Vidya Devi did not have a lawyer, the Court provided her with legal aid.

Facts

Vidya Devi, was Man Singh's wife. On the day of the incident, on hearing cries from Vidya's house, Debilal, a neighbour rushed there. There he saw Vidya hitting her husband on the head and neck with a kulhari (axe) as a result of which he died.

Debilal with the help of Alol, another neighbour, took the kulhari from Vidya's hands and tied her hands behind her back. Later, Debilal went and reported the incident at the police station. Vidya Devi was arrested the next day and the weapon was also recovered based on the information given by her.

After the investigation, she pleaded innocence and contested the case. During the trial, 10 witnesses were examined and several documents were produced before the Court. Vidya's plea of insanity was not considered by the Court.

Based on the evidence and documents, the Trial Court sentenced her to life imprisonment. She went on appeal to the High Court of Rajasthan.

Arguments of the parties

The argument taken by the lawyer of Vidya was that-
  1. The eye witnesses in this case were Mansingh's relatives, and therefore 'interested witnesses' and hence their statements could not be believed.
  2. Incorrect information was provided by the prosecution regarding the recovery of the murder weapon - it was put forth that the kulhari was handed over to the police by Debilal
  3. At the time of the incident, Vidya was suffering from schizophrenia (a type of mental illness) and therefore was entitled to the benefit of defence of insanity.
Thus, it was requested that the findings of the conviction recorded against Vidya by the Trial Court be set aside and that she should be acquitted of all charges framed against her. The public prosecutor supported the judgment of the Trial court.

Observations made by the High Court

With regard to the evidence of the eye witnesses Debilal, Alol and Chhogalal, (all neighbours), it was observed by the court that these testimonies could not be rejected merely on the assumption that "interested witnesses" were false witnesses.

It was further observed by the court that Vidya was suffering from Schizophrenia at the time of the incident. It was also clear from the record that the Trial had been stopped because she remained in the mental hospital for three years.

Further, thus was a well documented fact as the Sessions Judge had sent her to the mental hospital for treatment, and also that since the date of the crime, Vidya's behaviour was found to be abnormal. The trial had continued after the Sessions Court received a letter stating that she was fit to face the trial.

The Court also observed that Vidya was not represented by a lawyer in the Trial Court and the lawyer was provided to her in the High Court of Rajasthan indicating that she had been left alone because she was "a mental case". The Court noted that for Vidya to get benefit under the defence of insanity the following elements would need to be present:

  1. Proof of unsound mind at the time of commission of the offence
  2. Evidence to indicate that the unsoundness of mind rendered the person incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that the act was wrong or contrary to the law.

The Court held that Vidya had proved the existence of such circumstances bringing her case under the purview of the provision. The FIR showed that she was very angry and violent while committing the murder and could be stopped from killing her mother-in-law with difficulty.

In fact, she was sent to the mental hospital for treatment before the challan was filed, and that she remained there till after the trial indicating her illness was chronic in nature.

The Court held that the facts clearly showed that she was suffering from "schizophrenia" and that the condition existed before and after the occurrence and therefore, in the circumstances, the defence of insanity was proved.

For the above reasons, the judgment passed by the Addl. Sessions Judge was set aside and the appeal was allowed.

Sections Referred:

Cases Referred:

  • State of Punjab vs. Mohinder Singh, (1983) 2 SCC 274
  • Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakkar vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 1964 SC 1563: (1964) 2 Cri LJ 472
  • hrikant Anandrao Bhosale vs. State of Maharashtra, 2002 Cri LJ 4356: AIR 2002 SC 3399: 2002 AIR SCW 3965: (2002) 7 JT (SC) 386

Quotes from the Judgment:

"The mere fact that on former occasions the accused had been occasionally subject to insane delusions or had suffered from derangement of the mind or that subsequently he had at times behaved like a mentally deficient person is per se insufficient to bring his case under this exemption".

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Nitai Naik vs. The State

Filed Under: Sections 40 & 84 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
Appellant: Nitai Naik
Respondent: The State
Citation: AIR 1957 ORISSA 168
Court: In the high Court of Orissa
Judges: Mohapatra and Das

Facts

Nitai Naik killed Nagai Bewa by hitting her with a bamboo stick. At the time of the incidence, Nagai was living with her granddaughter in the same village as Nitai. Nitai had married two years before the incident and was staying at his father-in-law's house in another village.

Two days prior to the incident, he came to the village. On that day he complained of dizziness and approached Nagai for medicine. The next day Nagai refused to give him any medicine stating that she could not cure him of his disease. He then asked her to take him back to his maternal uncle's house in the same village.

Nagai refused to do so. On hearing the refusal, Nitai dragged her by her hair to the outskirts of the village and beat her to death with a bamboo stick. Nagai's son; a security guard returned home the next evening and reported the case.

The body was sent for post-mortem after two days in a decomposed state. The doctor found two external injuries and several internal injuries which appeared to be the cause of death. Nitai had shown signs of unsoundness of mind and was kept under observation on several occasions.

During the trial, the Sessions Judge was of the opinion that he was unable to make a defense, so he stopped the trial and sent Nitai to be kept under observation. Thereafter, the doctor opined that Nitai was fit to stand trial. The Sessions Judge held the trial and convicted him of murdering Nagai and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

An appeal was filed against this order. In this appeal, the Court agreed with the finding of the Sessions Court that Nitai had killed Nagai by hitting her with a bamboo stick. The only question that was raised for consideration was whether Nitai was entitled to avail the benefit of plea of insanity under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code.

Observations of the Court

The Court examined the evidence of the witnesses who stated that Nitai's behaviour was not normal and Nitai was complaining of dizziness for which he sought treatment from Nagai.

When Nagai refused to give him medicines or to take him back to his maternal uncle's place, he started beating her. The Court also referred to the Sessions Court's judgment and held that it was difficult to understand what the Sessions Judge had meant by "there is an absence of proof of motive, it will not be proper to hold that crime is motiveless".

However, the Court, on the basis of the evidence found that there was no motive for murder in this case. On the point of whether the accused had been insane at the time of commission of the crime, the Court opined that if there was a doubt regarding his guilt so he would be acquitted in the crime and directed the Sessions Judge to detain him in safe custody as required by law.

Held: Nitai Naik was acquitted of the crime but on view of his mental instability and was directed to be detained in safe custody.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 40 & 84 of the Indian Penal Code

Cases referred:

  • AIR 1922 Pat 73 (V 9): ILR 1 Part 242:23 Cri LJ 638
  • AIR 1949 PC 257 (V 36): 50 Cri LJ 872
  • Kashmira Singh vs. the State of MP: AIR 1952 SC 159 (V 39): 1952 Cri LJ 839
  • LS Raju and ors vs. the State of Mysore: AIR 1953 Bom 297 (V 40): 1953 Cri LJ 1352
  • AIR 1936 Bom 151 (V 23): 37 Cri LJ 539
  • AIR 1928 Pat 129 (V 15): 28 Cri LJ 850
  • AIR 1954 SC 302 ( V 41): 1954 Cri LJ 865
  • Swarnalingam Chettiar Assistant Labour Inspector, Karaikudi: (S) AIR 1956 Mad 165 (V 43): 1956 Cri LJ 248 (1)
  • AIR 1956 Mad Mad 632 (V 43): 1956 Cri LJ 1333

Quotes from the Judgment:

"..in other words, on a review of the entire evidence, if the Court entertains reasonable doubt about the guilt of the accused, he is entitled to an acquittal in the case, on the cardinal principle of criminal justice which has not been affected by the special provisions of S.105 of the Indian Evidence Act. The evidence that we have placed above along with the feature regarding the motive of the case leads us to the benefit of S.84 of the Indian Penal Code and is, therefore, acquitted on that ground".

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Kanbi Kurji Durba vs The State

Filed under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Kanbi Kurji Durba
Respondent: The State
Citation: AIR 1960 Gujarat 1 (V 47 C 1)
Court: In the High Court of Gujarat
Judge: J M Shelat and V B Raju

An appeal against the judgment of the Trial Court convicting Kanbi Kurji Durba and sentencing him to imprisonment for life on count of murder.

Facts

On the day of the incident, the accused - Kanbi, his wife (the deceased) and his two sons had gone to procure some soil. They had a cart and a crowbar with them. After a while Kanbi returned with only his younger son. As he passed the Sarpanch's house, he called out that he had killed 'Bhangadi' and 'Karna' meaning his wife and his elder son.

On hearing this, the police constable reached his house and on ascertaining the facts filed a FIR. The crowbar and the cart were seized, both of which were found to be stained with human blood as revealed later by the chemical analysis. Kanbi was charged for the murder of his wife and son. His defence was that he had become insane at the time of the incident, and therefore had no knowledge of what he had done.

Arguments made on behalf of Kanbi

It was argued that Kanbi was not on hostile terms with either his wife or his son. His lawyer laid considerable stress on the lack of motive. Then the evidence was enumerated to point out that he was suffering from 'unsoundness of mind'.

About a year earlier, he was reported to have gone 'half mad' and had run away from home. The village children used to chase him and shout 'mad man'. There was also evidence suggesting that he had hallucinations and delusions. He would claim to be Suryavanshi and Arjun and referred to his wife as Bhangadi, "a woman who had given birth to an illegitimate son".

He also named his eldest son Karna, the inveterate mythological enemy of Arjun. Further, after committing the act he had made no attempt to conceal the murders or to run away.

Arguments made on behalf of the State

The prosecution argued that Kanbi could not be entitled to the benefit of Section 84 IPC only on the grounds of suffering from mental illness with symptoms of hallucinations and delusions. He pointed out that Kanbi had bought land the previous year, which he cultivated indicating that he knew what he was doing.

Observations of the Court

In response to the claim that Kanbi was of sound mind because he had purchased land and cultivated it, the court observed it was not entirely correct. However, the antecedent and subsequent conduct is relevant only to show what his state of mind was when the crime was committed.

It was further observed that there was evidence that Kanbi was suffering from infirmity and delusions and this was coupled with evidence of the fact that there was nothing to provoke him to commit murders on that day. Evidence of the hallucinations and delusions lay in the fact that he called himself Arjun, his wife Bhangadi, his son, Karna and the Sarpanch as Bhisma Pitama, all of whom are characters from the Mahabharata.

The Court therefore stated that he committed the act under the influence of a delusion. It was also noted that there was no remorse in him, that he made no attempt to conceal the acts nor did he attempt to run away.

Thus, the Court concluded that he was suffering from unsoundness of mind at the time of committing the act and therefore was incapable of understanding the nature and implication of the act and realize that it was wrong or contrary to the law.

The appeal was thus allowed and the conviction and sentence of the Trial Court set aside. It was also recommended that he should be detained in jail till he was examined by medical authorities of the State and released only when he was sufficiently fit and no longer a danger to himself or others.

Held:The appeal was allowed.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Cases Referred:

  • Queen Empress vs. Lakshman Dagdu, ILR 10 Bom 512
  • Ashiruddin Ahmed vs. The King AIR 1949 Cal 182 (V 36), 50 Cri LJ 255
  • Kalicharan vs. Emperor, AIR 1948 Nag 20 (2) (V 35), 48 Cri LJ 377
  • Emperor vs. Gedka Goala (1843) 10 Cl and Fin 200, AIR 1937 Pat 363 (V 24), ILR 16 Pat 333
  • Daniel McNaughton's Case, 8 ER 718

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Kamla Singh vs. The State

Filed under:Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant:Kamla Singh
Respondent: The State
Citation: AIR 1995 Patna 209 (Vol. 42, CN 48)
Court:In the High Court of Patna
Judge:Ahmad and Imam

This is an appeal against the judgment of the Trial Court convicting and sentencing Kamla Singh to imprisonment for life for murdering his two brothers.

Facts

Kamla Singh was of 25 years of age and was studying in Class XI. He developed symptoms of insanity and was admitted in Kanke Hospital. He was discharged once he improved but a year and a half later the symptoms reappeared. He became violent and assaulted a man. After this incident his brothers would lock him up in the shed at night to avoid such incidents from happening.

However for the three months before the incident he had become considerably more agitated. On the day of the incident, Kamla's brothers had put fetters around his ankles as he had become very agitated. These fetters allowed some movement. His hands were left free.

He began shouting and abusing the people around him and suddenly picked up a brickbat and hurled it at his mother; which hit her on the forehead making her loose consciousness. As Kailash, his brother, rushed in to help his mother, Kamla struck his head with a lota and when Vyas, his other brother, came to his aid, Kamla struck him on the head as well.

Kailash's wife raised an alarm when she saw what was happening and the neighbors gathered and held Kamla and tied his hands behind his head. Kailash had died and Vyas was breathing his last breath. When the Sub Inspector interrogated Kamla, he apparently answered irrationally to some of the questions leading the Sub-Inspector to believe that he was a bit insane and should be kept in isolation.

In his statement, Kamla said that he was earlier admitted to Kanke Mental Hospital for his mental illness and that he had not killed his brothers. Based on the way he responded to the questions put to him by the Court the Sessions Court concluded that he was in a normal state of mind and was able to follow the proceedings.

On the basis of the evidence, the Court found him guilty and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. However, despite rejecting the plea of insanity, the Sessions Court directed that since the murders were committed apparently without any motive and in a temporary state of unsoundness of mind, he should be kept under observation.

Arguments made on behalf of Kamla

It was argued on behalf of Kamla that the Sessions Court having held that he was of unsound mind at the time of killing his brothers; should also accept that he was at that time incapable of knowing the nature of his act or that it was wrong or contrary to law.

Observations of the Court

The Court agreed with the Sessions Court in holding that it was the accused who had killed Kailash and Vyas by assaulting them with a lota. The Court observed that the Sessions Court believed that Kamla was able to understand the nature and gravity of his acts despite his "unsoundness of mind".

The court also observed that there was an inherent contradiction in this belief, especially when taking the history of the case into consideration. The Court was of the opinion that it was uncertain whether Kamla was capable of knowing what he was doing or not.

On the basis of the evidence the Court concluded that by reason of unsoundness of mind Kamla was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that it was wrong or contrary to law (refer to Quotes from the Judgment).

Held:The appeal was allowed. The conviction and sentence were set aside and Kamla was detained in safe custody.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Sections 101, 103, 105 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
  • Section 367 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898

Cases Referred:

  • AIR 1949 Nag 66: 50 Cri LJ 181
  • AIR 1947 Pat 222: 228 Ind Cas 40: 48 Cri LJ 143
  • AIR 1937 Pat 363: 1937 Pat WN 251: 38 Cri LJ 846
  • (1935) 1935 AC 462: 104 LJKB 433
  • (1843) 4 St. Tr. (NS) 847: 8 ER 200
  • (1910) 6 Cr App R 19
  • (1936) 1936-2 All ER 1138
  • (1921) 61 SCR 608
  • AIR 1941 All 402: 43 Cri LJ 177 (FB) 12

Quotes from the Judgment:

"The history of the case to my mind suggests that the mind of the prisoner at the time he committed the assaults was completely deprived of the very conception of wrong either from the moral point of view or from the legal point of view, though he might be alive that his act resulted in finishing the lives of two persons." (pp 215)

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Thangadurai Nadar vs. the State represented by the Inspector of Police Tenkasi

Filed under:Sections 84 of the Indian Penal Code Section 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973
Appellant:Thangadurai Nadar
Respondent:State represented by the Inspector of Police Tenkasi
Citation: No equivalent citations
Court:In the High Court of Madras
Judge:N. Dhinakar and A. Packiaraj

This is an appeal filed on behalf of Thangadurai against the order of the trial court, which convicted him of having injured his wife.

Facts:

Thangadurai Nadar was a mentally ill person who was left in the custody of his elder brother of his wife, the deceased on the day of the incident. Thangadurai Nadar had two children- one daughter and one son. The elder brother of Thangadurai’s wife used to work in a radio repair shop. On the day of the incident, Thangadurai’s wife and daughter were going for a condolence meeting, when Thangadurai suddenly appeared before his wife and dashed her head against the wall of the house, which was nearby. As a result of this, his wife sustained head injuries and was rushed to the hospital by her son who was informed about what had happened.

Thereafter the police was informed and a case was registered against Thangadurai. In the meanwhile, Thangadurai’s wife passed away. The police arrested Thangadurai and sent him for a mental examination. On the doctor’s submission of a certificate of the examination the police prepared the final report. The case then went to the Trial Court where Thangadurai was convicted for the murder of his wife.

The present appeal was then filed on behalf of Thangadurai against the order of the Trial Court.

Arguments made on behalf of Thangadurai

The lawyer on behalf of Thangadurai pointed out in his defense that Thangadurai was being treated for a mental ailment. However, no attention had been paid to this fact by the Trial Court while awarding the penalty. The lawyer also pointed out that the children of the deceased had stated that Thangadurai had no motive to attack their mother who had been looking after him. They also said that their father, Thangadurai, was mentally ill. The police inspector had also stated that Thangadurai was being treated for mental disturbance for the last 18 years.

It was further contended that the doctor who had examined Thangadurai after the incident had stated that Thangadurai was suffering from schizophrenia. On the basis of this evidence the lawyer stated that at the time of the act, Thangadurai had been unaware of the unlawful consequences of his act. It was argued that Thangadurai was therefore, entitled to benefit under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Observations by the Court

The Court stated the prosecution had not presented the relevant aspects regarding the mental state of Thangadurai including the report submitted by the doctor who had examined him after the incident. The Court held that in view of the evidence Thangadurai had, by the reason of unsoundness of mind, not known that what he was doing was either wrong or contrary to law. The Court stated that the Trial Judge should have given him the benefit of Section 84 IPC instead of convicting him.

In light of the reasons mentioned above, the Court set aside the conviction and the sentence imposed on Thangadurai. At the time of the hearing of the case, Thangadurai was in the Central Prison, and theCourt directed the State that he should be released unless he was wanted in connection with some other cases.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84, the Indian Penal Code

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Supdt. and Remembrancer of Legal Affairs, Government of West Bengal vs. Fatik Naskar

Filed under:Sections 84, 297, 303, 470 and 471 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1860
Appellant:Supdt. and Remembrancer of Legal Affairs, Government of West Bengal
Respondent:Fatik Naskar
Citation:AIR1961 Calcutta 436 (V 48 C 92)
Court:In the High Court of Calcutta.
Judges:Debabrata Mookerjee and D.N. Das Gupta

This is an appeal filed by the State Government of Calcutta for reconsideration of the order of the Sessions Judge of Howrah acquitting Fatik Naskar of murder on grounds of insanity under Section84 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Facts

Fatik Naskar was tried for the murder of his relative Bhushan Naskar. Bhushan was lying in his khamar bari when Fatik entered the shed and struck him in the neck with a katari, resulting in immediate death. Bhushan’s wife saw Fatik leaving the shed holding the katari. He returned a couple of hours later to the shed where he was apprehended, still holding the katari.

When the case was tried in the Sessions Court, Fatik pleaded ‘not guilty’. He said that he had been falsely implicated out of a grudge because of a land dispute between him and Bhushan. He also claimed that he was ‘of unsound mind’ at the time of the crime and thus, even if Bhushan’s death was as a result of his actions, he could not be held responsible as per Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code. In his defense, his lawyers also produced as witnesses Fatik’s neighbors and other people of the village.

After examining the case the judge acquitted Fatik under Section 84 of the IPC on the grounds of ‘unsoundness of mind’ and directed that he be placed under detention under Section 471.

The State Government filed the present appeal against this order of the Sessions Court. The State has argued that the above verdict is incorrect and that unless the jury was convinced beyond doubt of ‘unsoundness of mind’, the verdict of ‘not guilty’ is not sustainable.

Observations of the Court

The Judges in the high court were of the opinion that ‘every man is presumed to be sane and fully aware of the results of his actions’ proved otherwise as per the guidelines laid down by Section 84 of the IPC.

For section 84 to be applied as a defense in any case, it is necessary to prove that any one of three circumstances existed at the time of the crime:‘That the person was, by reason of unsoundness of mind, incapable of knowing the nature of the act or of knowing that he was doing what was either wrong or contrary to the law.’

The judges held that this aspect had not been fully addressed by the judge in the Sessions Court and therefore, the case needed to be re-examined. The Court also observed that the reactions of the witnesses in the case were only opinions and not conclusively indicative of unsoundness of mind on the part of Fatik at the time and immediately after the crime.

Thus, the jury’s verdict was set aside and it was decreed that Fatik Naskar be re-tried as per the law upon a charge of murder under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code.

Held:The appeal was upheld

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84, 297, 303, 470 and 471, of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1860

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Albert Collins vs. State, by Inspector of Police

Filed under: Section 84, 302 of Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Albert Collins
Respondent: State, by Inspector of Police
Citation: MANU/TN/0938/2004; Decided on 12.07.2004
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judge: M. Karpagavinayagam and S.K. Krishnan

An appeal by Albert Collins against the order of the Trial Court holding him guilty of murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment.

Facts

Albert Collins lived with his sister Violet Pushpam. Another sister-Meerabai, her husband Gnanamani and their twin children, occupied the neighboring house. Albert was suffering from mental illness for which he was taking treatment from Kilpauk Mental Hospital and also from the Mental Hospital at Coimbatore.

After treatment he was apparently all right and re-joined the company where he was working. He used to beat Gnanamani's children for which Gnanamani would scold him. On the day of the incident, Gnanamani had left his five-year-old daughter Jemi with Violet; at that time Albert was also at home.

In the evening, Violet left the sleeping Jemi at home and went to the shop to get idlis. When she returned, she found Albert coming out of the house in an agitated mood. On entering the house she found the child lying in a pool of blood.

Albert informed his neighbor that he had dropped a grinding stone on Jemi's head. Jemi was admitted to the hospital where she died after a few hours. A complaint was registered against Albert to the Sub Inspector of Police.

The Inspector conducted an inquest over Jemi's body in the presence of Panchayatdars. The body was then sent for post-mortem. The report confirmed that Jemi died of head injuries.

On the basis of the evidence examined, the Trial Court found Albert guilty of murder and sentenced him with imprisonment for life. Albert then appealed against this judgment seeking exemption on the grounds of Section 84 IPC, i.e. pleading insanity at the time of commission of the act.

Observations made by the Court

The Court observed that there was no eyewitness in this case; but that there was a judicial confession by Albert where he said that he had committed the act out of anger.

Based on this, the evidence provided by Violet and William, a neighbour and the recovery of bloodstained materials, the Court pointed out that there would be no difficulty in holding Albert guilty of killing Jemi. The Court observed that the crucial point here was to ascertain whether Albert was suffering from unsoundness of mind at the time the murder.

On the basis of the evidence provided by the doctor and jailor, the Court said that though Albert had an episode of mental illness about seven years ago, he had later obtained a certificate saying that he was mentally fit and was allowed to re-join his job on the basis of that certificate.

Both Gnanamani as well as Violet said that Albert was presumably all right since he regularly attended office. Moreover, Albert had also not been able to summon the doctors from whom he had received treatment to ascertain the kind of mental illness he was suffering from.

The Court observed that the evidence provided by Violet, William as well as from the records of the Trial Court (who stated that he found the accused all right on all the occasions that he was produced before him) indicates that Albert knew the consequences of his actions and that it was committed with full knowledge.

Finally, the Court drew attention to the evidence of the doctor of the Mental Hospital at Coimbatore that the accused was found guilty and his confession indicated that he was prepared to face any punishment.

Held: Thus, the Court concluded that the act was not committed due to insanity and upheld the order and the sentence imposed by the Trial Court. The appeal was dismissed.

Sections Referred:

Cases Referred:

  • T.N. Lakshmaiah vs. State of Karnataka, 2002 SCC (Cri) 103

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Parmanada Patra vs. State

Filed under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Paramananda Patra
Respondent: State
Citation: AIR 1969 ORISSA 222
Court: In the High Court of Orissa
Judges: G. K. Misra and S.K. Ray

Facts

On the day of the incident, the deceased and his father were on their way to the Zilla Parishad office to file an application for the post of teacher. On their way, the deceased's father suggested that they go to the temple before giving the application. The deceased was walking in front of his father.

When the deceased reached the gate of the temple, Paramananda Patra suddenly appeared with an axe and gave a blow on the deceased's neck. When the deceased fell down, Paramananda gave further blows and severed his head from his neck.

Following this, he placed the head on the closed door of the kali temple and shouted "victory to Kali" and thereafter started chasing the father of the deceased. On the way he also hurt a woman called Mithila and a Reserve Police.

Since he was uncontrollable while he was running, he was caught only when he fell down. During trial, he took the defence of insanity. The Sessions judge came to the conclusion that the murder was committed by Paramananda and also held that the defence of insanity was invalid.

He was therefore, convicted of murder and sentenced to imprisonment for life. Paramananda filed the present appeal.

Observations of the Court

The only question that was considered was whether Paramananda was insane at the time of committing the offence? The Court examined an earlier case and applied the principle of the nature of Paramananda's behaviour before and after the commission of the act.

It was found from the evidence of people who had met him immediately before and after the commission of the crime that nobody noticed any abnormality in his behaviour. He had not shown any sign of insanity after his arrest and had given rational answers to all the questions.

It was noted that he had a guilty conscious and had tried to escape from custody. Finally, holding that Patra's behaviour before and after the act proved that he was sane at the time of the commitment of the crime; the Court upheld the order of the Sessions Court.

Sections Referred:

Cases Referred:

  • Sarka Gundusa vs. The State, AIR 1969 Ori 102 (V 56)
  • Dahyabhai vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 1964 SC 1563
  • Karna Urang vs. Emperor, AIR 1928 Cal 238 (V 15)

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Amruta Gunda Shinde vs. State of Maharashtra

Filed under: Section 84, 302 and 309 of Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Amruta Gunda Shinde
Respondent: State of Maharashtra
Citation: MANU/MH/0097/1995; Decided on 11.12.1995
Judge: ASV Murthy and GR Majithia

This is an appeal against the judgment of the Sessions Court, Kohlapur sentencing Amruta Gunda Shinde to imprisonment for life on the grounds of murder.

Facts

On the day of the incident, Laxman Narasu Koli, working as Police Patil in Akawada village received information from Tanji Shinde that his brother Amruta Gunda Shinde had murdered Shivaji Shinde.

On receiving this information, Laxman reached the site of the murder and learnt on the way that the murdered person was Dattaraya Jadhav. At the site, he found Amruta smeared with blood with an iron bar in his hand. It also was reported thereafter that Amruta was spotted with a wound in his stomach.

The deceased's wife Minabhai Jadhav was the main witness. According to her, she had gone to the cattle-shed in the morning to collect cow-dung, while her husband went to collect grass. Their neighbour, Amruta invited her husband to share some tobacco.

Soon after, she heard the two of them quarreling and her husband raised a cry; she saw Amruta assaulting her husband with an iron bar; she tried to intervene but was threatened by him that she would be killed if she did.

In Court, Amruta pleaded insanity and this was supported by witnesses who stated that they had seen him dancing with a dog with a broken bottle on his head and an injured stomach. The autopsy performed on the deceased concluded that the cause of death was "head injury".

The Trial Court did not find sufficient evidence for the accused to be exempted under Section 84 IPC and convicted and sentenced Amruta to rigorous imprisonment for life and a fine of Rs 500 or one month rigorous imprisonment.

Simultaneously, he was also sentenced to six months rigorous imprisonment for attempted suicide, ordering that the sentences were to follow concurrently.

Observations made by the Court

The Court observed that the most important consideration with respect to a plea of insanity is to prove that the accused was indeed suffering from unsoundness of mind at the time of committing the act and therefore incapable of understanding the nature and implications of the act.

The Court noted the evidence given by a witness that Amruta was dancing with a dog on his head on the day of the incident. Another witness testified having seen Amruta dancing with a broken bottle. The Court responded to this evidence by stating that the narration did not necessarily indicate that Amruta was mentally unsound.

The Court further observed that the report submitted by the Medical Officer indicated clearly that the accused, Amruta was not suffering from any mental illness at the time of committing the act; his mental status examination indicated that he was normal.

Held: On the basis of this evidence, the Court concluded that Amruta was clearly not suffering from any mental disorder and that the defense was only set up as an afterthought. The Court therefore found the accused to be guilty and the plea was dismissed.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84, 302 and 309 of Indian Penal Code, 1860

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Barelal vs. State

Filed under: Section 84 and 299 of Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Barelal
Respondent: State
Citation: AIR 1960 MADHYA PRADESH 102 (V 47 C 44)
Court: Gwalior Bench
Judges: AH Khan and Shivdayal Shrivastava

An appeal against the judgment of the Trial Court convicting Barelal and sentencing him to imprisonment for life on charges of murdering his 2-year- old daughter.

Facts

On the day of the incident, Barelal's neighbors heard a woman's cries from his house and on reaching there they saw Barelal throw his two-year old daughter across the wall. Then he picked up the body and tried to run away.

The villagers caught him and confined him till the police arrived. They recovered his daughter and found that she was already dead. The doctor who examined the child stated that she had died as a result of the shock of injuries to the brain and chest. Barelal confessed to his actions but retracted it later.

Before the Magistrate he said that he was handing the girl over to his wife but that she fell in the process and died. Since this was a case of murder the case was transferred to the Sessions Court.

At the Sessions Court, Barelal gave a different story - that he was holding the child while on the roof and that she slipped from his grasp and the fall killed her. Along with this he also pleaded insanity.

When cross-examined, Barelal's brother stated that the child fell from the cot and died while Barelal's wife (and the child's mother) stated that the child fell and died when she was taking the child from him.

Observations of the Court

The Court noted that there were contradictions in the evidence of the witnesses; Barelal's brother and his wife gave different versions but both agreed that the child's death was an accident.

After listening to what the witnesses had to say, the judge concluded that the story that the child died as a result of a mere accident could not be accepted. It was observed that the Trial Court was correct in rejecting this story and that there was no doubt that Barelal had indeed killed his child.

As far as the plea of insanity was concerned, the Court observed that there was some evidence indicating that there were symptoms of insanity in Barelal. However, there was no further evidence, medical or otherwise to corroborate the claim. Thus, the Court concluded that the evidence was not sufficient to accept the plea of insanity.

Held: The appeal was dismissed.

Sections Referred:

Cases Referred:

  • Narain vs. State of Punjab, AIR 1959 SC 484

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Sarka Gundusa vs. State

Filed Under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Sarka Gundusa
Respondent: State
Citation: AIR 1969 ORISSA 102 (V 56 C 37)
Court: The High Court of Orissa
Judges: G.K. Misra and S. Acharya Sarka Gundusa filed this appeal against the order that convicted him for the murder of a 3-year-old child and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

Facts

On the day of the incident a 3-year-old child was playing in the village street when Sarka Gundusa came out of his house with an axe. He gave a sudden blow with the sharp side of the axe on the child's neck. The boy fell down and died immediately.

Sarka then ran into the jungle with the blood stained axe. The villagers searched for him but could not find him. The next day, Sarka returned to his house without the axe. The eye-witnesses of the incident vividly described the scene and corroborated the above mentioned facts. Before the Sessions Judge, Gundusa took the plea of insanity.

However, the Sessions Judge held that the death was homicidal and rejected the Gundusa's plea and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. It is against this order that Gunudusa filed the present appeal.

Observations of the Court

The Court noted that a number of aspects would have to be examined before it could be concluded that Sarka was of an unsound mind at the time of committing the murder.

The Court further stated an effective decision regarding cases of this nature could only take place when an examination of the manner in which the crime was carried out, the behaviour of the offender and other related factors was conducted.

This analysis would help reach a conclusion regarding the mental state of the offender at the time of the crime (refer to quotes). Accordingly the Court examined the evidence of the witnesses.

  • One witness, Sarka's cousin, claimed that Sarka's left palm had been swollen for four or five days prior to the day the murder took place and that he had been talking to himself incoherently. This witness also claimed that Sarka had been attending to his work, had been eating and moving about normally.

  • Sarka's mother informed that Sarka had never been mad or insane. However, she contended that for some days before the incident, Sarka had been confined to the house because of immense pain in his left hand and forearm which were swollen. She also stated that for some time Sarka had not been talking with anybody. Further, he had not been eating or sleeping well. She added that on the day after the incident Sarka had come back from the jungle and had stood before the house without going in. He also did not speak with her.

The doctor had examined Sarka and had noticed the swelling on his left hand and forearm. Sarka had complained to him of acute pain. The doctor had also found multiple abrasions in Sarka's neck and believed that these multiple abrasions had been self-inflicted.

However, the Doctor examined Sarka's mental condition and found no abnormality. After examining this evidence, the Court observed that certain features of the case established the fact that Sarka Gundusa was mentally normal.

Immediately after the murder, Sarka had escaped towards the jungle to conceal his identity. The Court further added that since Sarka had thrown away the axe in a place where it could not be found also showed that Sarka was aware of his crime.

The fact that on returning the next day, Sarka had not entered his house and had not spoken with his mother was taken as further indication by the Court of Sarka's guilty conscience. The Court also observed that even though Sarka had talked like a mad man a few days before the incident, on account of severe pain in his hand, it was no indication of Sarka's loss of mental faculty.

The Court did not find any crucial circumstances in favour of the fact that Sarka had lost his mental faculty to a degree prescribed in section 84, I.P.C except the absence of motive and the ghastly nature of the act.

However, according to the Court these factors by themselves were not enough to prove that Sarka Gundusa was insane when the murder was committed.

Held: The appeal was dismissed.

Quotes from the Judgment:

"Speaking generally the pattern of the crime, the circumstances under which it was committed, the manner and method of its execution and behaviour of the offender before or after the commission of the crime furnish some of the important clues to ascertain whether the accused had no cognitive faculty to know the nature of the act or what he was doing is either wrong or contrary to law".

Sections Referred:

Cases Referred:

  • In re Kandasami Mudali (1960) AIR 1960 Mad 316 (V 47):1960 Cri LJ 930
  • Kerala State vs. Madhavan (1958) AIR 1958 Ker 80 (V 45):1958 Cri LJ 513
  • Tola Ram vs. Emperor (1927) AIR 1927 Lah 674 (V 14):28 Cri LJ 598

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Genda Oraon vs. State of Bihar

Filed under: Sections 84, 320 and 324 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Genda Oraon
Respondent: State of Bihar
Citation: MANU/JH/0080/2002 Decided on
Court: In the High Court of Jharkhand
Judges: M.Y.Eqbal and Lakshman Uraon

Genda Oraon filed an appeal against the order of the Additional Judicial Commissioner, Ranchi who convicted him for murder and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for life.

Facts

On the day of the incident, deceased (name not mentioned in the judgment) along with daughter had visited Mangra at her residence. Gend Oraon arrived there with a weapon (tangi) and hurled it at Mangra saying that he would kill her.

The tangi hit Mangra on her head and she fell down. Thereupon Genda hit her again and killed her. The daughter of the deceased informed the police about the incident. Prior to the killing of the deceased, Genda Oraon had assulated Chito Kumari, Jharia Kumari and Rania Kumari of the same village.

The cause of the killing was said to be arguments between the deceased and Genda's family members some days prior to the incident. Post- mortem was conducted on the deceased and the injured girls were examined by the doctor.

In his statement, Genda Oraon stated that he was insane and did not know what he had done on the day of the incident. The Additional Judicial Commissioner convicted him for murder and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for life.

Observation of the Court

After examining the evidence, the Court observed that there was no evidence to show that prior to the incident as well after the incident Genda Oraon was insane.

His conduct on the day of the incident did not indicate that he was not in a mentally fit condition to understand the nature and consequence of the act which was committed by him. For the above reasons the Court upheld the sentence of the Trial Court. Held: Appeal dismissed

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84, 320 and 324 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Ceases Referrd:

  • Oyami Ayatu vs. State of M.P, AIR 1974 SC 216

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In re: Rajagopala Aiyangar

Filed under: Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code
Accused: In re Rajagopala Aiyangar
Citation: AIR 1952 Madras 289
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judges: Mack and Somasundaram

Facts

Rajagopala Aiyangar had allegedly clubbed four of his children and his wife Mathuravalli to death with an iron pestle. His neighbours come to his house at midnight after hearing noises and groans. They saw Rajagopala standing near the threshold with an iron pestle in his hand.

He told them that "I have closed all, but I cannot bring myself to kill the small child" pointing to a 2-year-old who was standing next to him. The witnesses reported the matter at the police station. One child was dead when the police arrived and the others succumbed to injuries in the hospital.

Mathuravalli had head injuries affecting her mental faculties. She was not in a position to say anything about her family or what happened to her children, and therefore was not produced as witness in the case. At the Trial, Rajagopala did not deny his guilt and said that all the evidence against him was true.

Further, he had said that he did not have anything to say. The Trial Court had found him guilty of killing his children and sentenced him to death.

Observations of the Court

All the evidence showed that Rajagopala and his wife were happily married and that there was no evidence to show that her chastity was in question. When the witnesses arrived at his place, he had said that he had killed them all except for his youngest daughter.

The Court considered this conduct showed that he was knew what he doing and it made any plea of insanity under S 84 IPC out of the question and confirmed the judgment of the Lower Court.

Sections Referred:

Cases Referred:

  • Queen Empress vs. Lakshman Dagdu, 10 Bom 512
  • Reg vs. Greensmith, Med Chir. Rev. Vol. 28 p.84
  • Queen Empress vs. Kadar Nasyer Shah, 23 Cal 604
  • Emperor vs. Gedka Goala, 16 Pat 333
  • Kulandi Thevar vs. Emperor, 1950 Mad W N Cr. 95
  • R. vs. Kopsch, 1925 19 Crl A R 50
  • R. vs. Holt, (1920) 15 Crl A R 10

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In re: Govindaswami Padayachi

Filed under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Accused: In re, Govindaswami Padayachi
Citation: AIR (39) 1952 Madras 174
Court: High Court of Madras
Judges: Govinda Menon and Ramaswami

An appeal against the sentence pronounced by the session Judge on account of murder.

Facts

Govindaswami aged about 16-18 years had a bitter quarrel with his mother, over a promissory note executed by his brother. Following the quarrel, Govindaswami asked his mother to serve him food to which his irritated mother replied that he should serve himself or get his father from the field to serve him.

Govindaswami, in a fit of rage dragged his mother inside the hut and hit her with a spade which was lying nearby. Hearing her cries the, neighbours came and found the door of the hut locked from inside. When the neighbours tried to break open the door, Govindaswami came out of the house saying that he had killed his mother since she repeatedly refused to serve him food.

He then told the neighbours that the corpse should be shown to the elders of the village and then be cremated. Though Govindaswami pleaded insanity, the session Judge found him to be of sound mind and sentenced him. The case then went to the High Court.

Observations of the Court

The court observed after reviewing the evidence, that there seemed to be no reason to differ from the judgment of the Sessions Judge. It was accepted that the details outlined indicated that Govindaswami knew very well that he was murdering his mother and that his action was a grave offence which was both wrong and contrary to the law.

Held: The Court affirmed the conviction and sentence of the Sessions Judge and dismissed the appeal

Sections Referred:

Cases Referred:

  • Chelliah vs. The King, 1949 Mad W N Cr. 58
  • Public Prosecutor vs. Nagappa Pujari, 1949 Mad W N Cr. 6

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Pulu Mura vs. State of Assam

Filed under: Sections 84 and 300 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Pulu Mura
Respondent: State of Assam
Citation: 2004 CRI. L. J. 458
Court: In the High Court of Gauhati
Judges: P. G. Agarwal and I.A. Ansari

This is an appeal filed by Pulu Mura, challenging the order of the Sessions Court sentencing him to death on charges of murdering his four children.

Facts

Pulu Mura was charged with murdering his four children, Mantu, Kanchi, Sagi and Mangri. The eldest of the four children was ten and the youngest three. His wife had eloped with another man three months before the incident. Pulu Mura continued to live with his four children.

One evening the children had gone to the neighbour's house to watch TV and returned late. The next morning Pulu Mura was sitting on the verandah of his house, and his father Shiva Mura (who lived in a separate house in the same compound) enquired about his children, Pulu Mura informed him that he had killed them. He was holding a dao in his hand.

When his father entered the house, he saw blood stains all over the place and found the dead bodies of the children lying there. The post-mortem report indicated that the deaths were caused due to shock and hemorrhage/coma resulting from a blunt object in case of two of the children and in the case of the other two children, by a heavy sharp weapon.

The village head and other villagers had stated in the Trial Court that they too had seen the dead bodies in Pulu Mura's house. The Trial Court on the basis of medical evidence and evidence given by the witnesses convicted him of murdering his four children and sentenced him to death.

Arguments made on behalf of the parties

On behalf of Pulu Mura it was argued that the Trial Court had not considered the medical certificate during the period when he was admitted at the Tezpur Mental Hospital from the jail for treatment.

Observations of the Court

The Court observed that there was no medical evidence on record to show or throw light on Pulu Mura's actual mental condition prior to, after or during the incident. The Court also noted that Pulu Mura had not asked for bail on that count. He was admitted to the Mental Hospital almost a year after the incident took place and then released two years later.

Therefore, the medical report given by the hospital stating that he was suffering from schizophrenia would be with respect to his mental status after about one and half years of the incident.

Further, the Court opined that the immediate cause of killing the children was that the children had remained in the neighbour's house watching TV till late which he did not appreciate making him take the extreme step.

The court agreed that he may have been suffering from slight depression but that there were no records indicating that his behaviour was abnormal prior to or after the incident as observed by the police or the court. The next question that the Court examined was the appropriateness of the sentence passed by the Trial Court.

The Court reviewed Supreme Court cases dealing with death sentence and considered the circumstances of this case. On the basis of these cases, and other evidence, the Court concluded that Pulu Mura did not deserve a death penalty. Therefore, the appeal was partly allowed and death sentence was replaced by imprisonment for life.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84, 300 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Cases Referred:

  • Ratanlal vs. State of MP, AIR 1971 SC 778
  • Sher Ali Wali Md. vs. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1972 SC 2443
  • Oyami Ayatul vs. State of MP, AIR 1974 SC 216
  • Mayajul Ali vs. State of Assam, (1987) 2 Gauhati LR (NOC) 4
  • TN Lakshmalah vs. State of Karnataka, AIR 2001 SC 3828
  • Lehna vs. State of Haryana, (2002) 3 SCC 76
  • Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab, AIR 1980 SC 898
  • Macchi Singh vs. State of Punjab, AIR 1983 SC 957
  • Janki Das vs. State of Delhi, AIR 1995 SC 1002
  • Dahyabhai vs. State of Gujarat, AIR 1964 SC 1563

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Chellan vs State

Filed under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Chellan
Respondent: State rep. by Inspector of Police
Citation: MANU/TN/1002/2003 Decided on 11.08.3003 (Unreported)
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judges: N. Dhinakar and M. Chockalingam

This is an appeal against the order of Sessions Judge convicting Chellan and sentencing him to imprisonment for life for murdering Sreekumar.

Facts

On the day of the incident, the deceased Sreekumar, a fourteen-year-old boy had taken goats to graze. Some of the goats went and grazed on Chellan's property and damaged his crops. Seeing this Chellan started abusing Sreekumar in filthy language and injured him with a sickle. A few people were witness to this incident. After the incident, Chellan ran away from the place.

The witnesses took Sreekumar to the police station and reported the case. With a memo from the police, they then transferred him to a hospital. Since his condition was found to be serious on examination, Sreekumar was then referred to another hospital. Despite this, Sreekumar succumbed to the injuries the next evening. The post-mortem report showed head injury as the cause of death.

Chellan took the plea of insanity. The plea was however not supported with documents and medical evidence to show that he was suffering from insanity when the act was committed. Therefore, the Trial Court convicted him of murder. He then went on appeal to the High Court.

Observations of the Court

On examining the evidence, the Court observed that Chellan knew that Sreekumar, being careless, had allowed the goats into his fields on account of which his crops were damaged. Chellan then verbally abused Sreekumar and when the boy kept quite, injured him with a sickle - this indicated that Chellan was conscious of his actions.

Further, Chellan had run away after the incident and was arrested at a later point during investigation. The court observed that if he did not know the consequences of the act he would not have absconded.

The Court held that in view of the above facts, it is difficult to hold that Chellan was mentally ill on the date of incident and that the murder was committed without his understanding of the nature or consequences of the act. Therefore, the appeal was dismissed and the Sessions Court's sentence upheld.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
  • Sections 105 and 106 of the Indian Evidence Act

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Ram Singh vs. State of Chattisgarh

Filed under: Sections 84, 300 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
Appellant: Ram Singh
Respondent: State of Chattisgarh
Citation: 2003 Cri.L J 4692
Court: In the High Court of Chattisgarh
Judges: K. H.N. Kuranga and L.C.Bhadoo

Facts

Ram Singh committed the murder of Shani Ram alias Abir Sai and Maya Ram with a 'tangia'. He had also assaulted Sukri Bai, Sanjhu Ram's mother on the same day. Sanjhu Ram and the accused Ram Singh were stepbrothers. It was alleged that after the death of their father Dharam Sai, Ram Singh took a major portion of the property leaving a very small portion for Sanjhu Ram.

Therefore, Sanjhu Ram filed a case in the Court of the 'Tehsildar' for partition of the land. On the day of the incident, Ram Singh invited Abir Sai, Sanjhu Ram's uncle for lunch. During a discussion about the dispute between the two brothers, Ram Singh mentioned that Shani Ram was taking Sanjhu Ram's side and assaulted him 3-4 times and killed him.

Thereafter, he went in search of Sanjhu Ram to his house. At his house he assaulted Sukhri Bai who was the only person present at that time. He left the place thinking that she had died. He also assaulted Purno Ram who tried to intervene while he was assaulting her. He, then, went in search of Sanjhu Ram who was fencing his agricultural land.

On reaching the field, he started abusing Sanjhu Ram. Sanjhu Ram ran to his maternal uncle, Maya Ram's house in fear. Maya Ram was having lunch at that time. Sanjhu Ram narrated the story to him. His uncle asked him to hide in the 'Pateva' (a space where household goods are stored). Ram Singh reached Maya Ram's house and started banging the door.

Finally, he broke open the door and asked Maya Ram about Sanjhu Ram. Then accusing him of taking Sanjhu Ram's side dragged him to the courtyard, assaulted him with the 'tangia', and killed him. Thereafter, he ran off to his in- laws place in a different village.

Sanjhu Ram had heard the whole conversation between Maya Ram and Ram Singh when he was hiding in the 'Pateva'. Later, he found his mother lying in a pool of blood and Shani Ram dead in his house.

As there were no eyewitnesses, the entire trial at the Sessions Court rested on the circumstantial evidence and the evidence given by Sukhri Bai. The evidence had clearly shown that Ram Singh had committed 2 murders.

However, he denied all allegations in the Court and claimed that he did not know anything about the incident. After hearing all the arguments, the Sessions Judge had convicted him of murdering Shani Ram and Maya Ram and attempting to murder Sukhri Bai.

Arguments on behalf of Ram Singh

It was argued on behalf of Ram Singh that at the time of the occurrence of the act, he was insane and the Trial Court had not looked into the matter.

Observations of the Court

The Court examined two points in this case.

Firstly, whether Ram Singh was entitled to benefit under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code?Secondly, should Ram Singh be sentenced to death for the offence committed by him?

After examining, the evidence in the case and the principle laid down by the Supreme Court on the issue of death penalty in a number of previous cases the Court opined that Ram Singh cannot get benefit of the plea of insanity since he knew what he was doing and that it was wrong.

The Court while upholding the conviction felt that the facts and circumstances of the case do not call for death penalty. Therefore, the sentence was reduced to life imprisonment and the appeal was rejected.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84, 300 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Cases Referred:

  • State of Punjab vs. Garmej Singh, 2002 Cri LJ 3741: (2002) 6 SCC 663:AIR 2002 SC 2811: 2002 AIR SCW 3186
  • Om Praksh vs. State of Haryana, 1999 Cri LJ 2044: (1999) 3 SCC 19: AIR 1999 SC 1332:1999 AIR SCC 1029
  • State Through Supdt. of police C.B.I./ S.I.T. vs. Nalini, 1999 Cri LJ 3124: (1999) 5 SCC 253: AIR 1999 SC 2640 : 1999 AIR SCW 1889
  • Alluddin Mian vs. State of Bihar, 1989 Cri LJ 1466 : (1989) 3 SCC 5: SCC : AIR 1989 SC 145 C
  • Machhi Singh vs. State of Punjab, 1983 Cri LJ 1457: (1983) 3 SCC 470: AIR 1983 SC 957
  • Bachan Singh vs. State of Punjab, 1980 Cri LJ 636: (1980) 2 SCC 684: AIR 1980 SC 898

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Dhaneswar Pardhani vs. The State of Assam

Filed under: Sections 84 and 300 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Dhaneswar Pardhani
Respondent: State of Assam
Citation: 2003 CRI.L.J.733
Court: In the High Court of Guahati
Judges: P. P. Naolekar, C. J. and B.B. Deb

Dhaneshwar Pardhani made this appeal against the order of conviction for murder and sentence of life imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 2,000/- by the Additional Sessions Judge, Dhubri, Gauhati.

Facts

One night, the accused, Dhaneswar Pardhani killed his wife and his daughter. On the following morning, he carried both the dead bodies in a handcart and arrived at the village police station and while surrendering himself made a statement to the police officer on duty that he had 'axed' his wife and daughter. This confession was made before the Magistrate, and it was recorded. The case was then transferred to the Sessions Court.

During the trial the neighbours stated that Dhaneshwar was present at a 'kirtan' for sometime on the day of the murder and then they had found the doors of his house open in the morning. They had also later seen him take the bodies in the cart. Medical evidence revealed the cause of death to be 'shock and haemorrhage' as a result of head injury and the injuries were caused with an intention to cause death.

After hearing the arguments presented by both parties it was decided that Dhaneswar would be convicted under Sec.302 of I.P.C. for committing culpable homicide amounting to murder of his wife and his daughter. Dhaneswar went on appeal to the High Court of Guahati.

Arguments on behalf of Dhaneswar

The accused took the plea of insanity. On his behalf it was argued that it was the duty of the Trial court to get the accused examined by a medical expert, which the trial Court had failed to do.

Observations of the Court

The Court observed that some of the evidence by the witnesses showed that they had noticed Dhaneswar to be suffering from periodical insanity without spelling out any specific period or time. However, the Court admitted a basic difficulty in ascertaining the proximity between the period of insanity and the commission of the act from the testimonies provided.

Further, the Judge noted that the plea of insanity or unsoundness of mind did not allow Dhaneswar to avail the benefit unless it was proved that at the time he committed the crime he was suffering from such degree of unsoundness of mind rendering him incapable of knowing the nature of the act.

In the present case nothing of that sort was available from the evidence. Unless the symptoms of insanity have its proximity with the commission of the crime it would be difficult to allow the exception in favour of 'the accused'.

No such abnormality was detected while recording Dhaneswar's confessional statement. He had attended the 'kirtan', the night preceding the commission of the offence, carried the corpse in a handcart, and made his confession with no abnormality or mental disorder.

Even during his trial, till the end, while he was being examined he revealed his soundness of mind hence was not entitled to the benefits of immunity under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code. The Court upheld the judgment order of the Trial court and the appeal was dismissed.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 and 300 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Cases Referred:

  • Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakkar vs. State of Gujarat, (1964) 2 Cri LJ 472: AIR 1964 SC 1563

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Rajendra vs. State of Rajasthan

Filed under: Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, Section 105 of the Evidence Act
Appellant: Rajendra
Respondent: State of Rajasthan
Citations: 2004 CRI. L. J. 2458: RLW 2004(2) Raj 1113
Court: In the High Court of Rajasthan (Jaipur Bench)
Judges: Shiv Kumar Sharma and Fateh Chand Bansal

Rajendra filed this appeal against the order of the Additional Sessions Judge, Khetri District Jhunjhunu sentencing him with life imprisonment for murdering two young children with a 'Gandasi'.

Facts

Rajendra hit Manju (2 years) and Aabid (9 years) with a 'Gandasi' as a result of which they died. Rajendra raised the plea of insanity before the Trial Court. The Trial Court rejected the plea and sentenced him to life imprisonment on grounds of murder.

Arguments made on behalf of Rajendra

It was argued that Rajendra was unaware of the nature and legal implications of his actions due to 'unsoundness of mind', and therefore, in view of Sec.84 of the Indian Penal Code had not committed any offence.

Observations of the Court

For the purpose of obtaining the benefit of Section 84 of the IPC, Rajendra would need to establish the circumstances that would clearly prove his inability to have understood the nature of his actions and thereby prove the status of his sanity. The Court observed that in dealing with insanity the following principles need to be borne in mind:

  • Unsoundness of mind as contemplated in Section 84 of IPC is legal insanity, which requires that the cognitive faculty of the accused is such that he does not know what he has done or what will follow from his act.

  • To get the benefit of Section 84 the accused must establish any one of the three elements necessary under this section. Incapability of knowing

    1. the nature of the act, or
    2. that the act is contrary to law, or
    3. that it is wrong.

In the present case, it was observed by the Court that there was no abnormality in Rajendra's behavior. Further, the investigating officer had categorically stated in his evidence that Rajendra was absolutely normal at the time the offense was committed.

To this the judge added that all forms of insanity were not an excuse(Refer to quotes) and in this case Rajendra was not able to establish conclusively that he was insane at the time he committed the offence.

Held: The appeal was dismissed and the sentence of the Additional Sessions Judge was upheld.

Cases Referred:

  • Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakkar vs. State of Gujarat, (1964) 7 SCR 1568

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Section 105 of the Evidence Act, 1872

Quotes from the Judgment:

"It is not every form of insanity or madness that is recognized by law as a sufficient excuse. All minor aberrations of mind which are recognized by the medical science as amounting to madness are excluded in the eye of law".

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Shaik Ahmed vs. The State of Andhra Pradesh

Filed under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: haik Ahmed
Respondent: The State of Andhra Pradesh
Citation: 1996 (2) ALD 250
Court: In the High Court of Andhra Pradesh
Judges: B. Shubhashan Reddy and K. B. Siddappa

This is an appeal against the judgment passed by the Sessions Judge holding Shaik Ahmed guilty of murder of his wife and sentencing him to imprisonment for life.

Facts

Shaik Ahmed, the accused, married the deceased Rajia Begum alias Raju Bai about 12 years ago. They had 4 children. Six months before the incident, Shaik began suspecting his wife's fidelity and started harassing her. On the day of the incident, he beat her with a pestle on her head and set her on fire after pouring kerosene on her.

On receiving this information, Rajiya's brother went to her house and then to the police station to register a case. The autopsy of the dead body revealed that Rajiya's death was caused due to shock and haemorrhages because of extensive burns and head injury. The police arrested Shaik and during the interrogation he confessed his guilt.

Considering all the evidence, the Judge found him guilty of murder and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. Against that judgment and sentence he filed an appeal in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh.

Arguments made on behalf of Shaik

Shaik's lawyer argued that there was clear evidence that Shaik was 'mentally deranged' because he was not eating and roamed around naked. At times, he was tied with chains. He also poured water on his plate when served with food. He had been taken to the, doctor for treatment on several occasions.

Observations of the Court

It is an accepted principle of law that to be exempted from criminal liability (sec.84, IPC) the accused, should be of unsound mind, at the time of committing the act. By this, it is meant that the person should be in a position where he is unable to understand what he is doing and its legal implications.

However, it is also accepted that not all aberrations of the mind are termed as insanity. The court observed that there was consistent evidence that Shaik suspected his wife of being unfaithful and that they used to quarrel about this. In-fact on the day of the incident he had beaten his wife with a pestle, poured kerosene on her and then set her on fire.

On hearing the cries of their daughter, a neighbour went to the scene of the crime and Shaik threw the pestle, pushed the neighbour and ran away. It was observed that such behavior clearly indicated that he was aware of what he was doing at the time of the incident and was only taking shelter in the defence of insanity.

Held:It was held that accused was not of unsound mind at the time of committing murder of his wife. Thus the criminal appeal was dismissed confirming the conviction and the sentence imposed on Shaik Ahmed.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

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Anand Narayan Mallav vs. The State of Maharashtra

Filed under: Section 84 of Indian Penal Code,1860
Appellant: Anand Narayan Mallav
Respondent: The State of Maharashtra
Citation: 1999 (5) Bom CR 612: 1999 (2) Mh LJ 839
Court: High Court of Bombay
Judge: Vishnu Sahai and Smt. Ranjana Desai

An appeal made by Anand Narayan Mallav against the sentence of imprisonment for life, passed by the Sessions Judge, Solapur on charges of murder.

Facts

Anand Narayan Mallav lived with his elder brother, Dattatraya, sister-in-law, Kamini and his parents. He is said to have failed twice in his higher secondary examinations and was dependent on his father. According to the prosecution, the day before the incident, Anand had a quarrel with Dattatraya.

Dattatraya worked as a clerk-typist and returned only at night. Early next morning, the family suddenly heard cries from the room where he slept; on reaching the room they found Anand inflicting blows on Dattatraya with a large knife. When they tried to intervene, Dattatraya's wife and his parents were injured.

Dattatraya tried to run away from the room but Anand followed him till the gate and continued to inflict blows on him till another person with the help of a police constable, who was passing by, held him. The constable proceeded to the police station with Anand carrying the knife with them.

Meanwhile Anand's father took Dattatraya to the General Hospital, Solapur where he was pronounced dead. A FIR was then recorded and on that basis a case was registered against Anand. The injuries inflicted on Anand's parents and Kamini were found to be superficial. The autopsy report indicated that Dattatraya had died of shock and hemorrhage due to multiple stab wounds inflicted upon him.

Anand pleaded not guilty to the charges and claimed to be tired and the defense used during trial was "insanity". The Trial Court rejected the plea, convicted him and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. Anand appealed against this judgment to the High Court.

Observations of the Court

The Court observed that Anand's involvement in the crime was obvious from the evidence given by the eyewitnesses, his father, Kamini, another resident of the same building where his family was living as tenants and the police constables.

In addition, it had also been indicated that the injuries suffered by Anand's parents and his sister-in-law were inflicted by a knife. The Court further pointed out that none of the eyewitnesses had any animosity against Anand to have falsely framed him. With regard to the defense of insanity, the Court referred to the evidence of a doctor who had examined Anand some years' ago and found him to be schizophrenic.

The Court here referred to a point made by the doctor. The doctor had said that in order to decide whether a person had committed an act under the influence of an insane mind, his conduct prior to, during and immediately after the act should to be examined.

The doctor then stated that he had observed no evidence of any degree of insanity in Anand. The Court noted that the defense tried to prove insanity through the evidence provided by Anand's father who said that Anand used to suffer from fits of insanity; in addition Anand also had a good relationship with the Dattatraya (the deceased).

However, the father acknowledged that neither the FIR nor his statement had any mention of Anand being insane. He also expressed his desire not to see his son remain in jail. The other three witnesses confirmed that Anand was normal and not insane at the time of the incident and that he inflicted the injuries at will.

Held:This evidence led the court to find no merit in the appeal and dismissed it without any cost.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84, 300, 302, 323 and 324 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Sections 3, 45, 59 and 61 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872
  • Sections 61, 154, 161, 165, 235 and 313 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973

Cases Referred:

  • Brij Phukan vs. State of U.P., AIR 1957 SC 474

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Gujraj vs. The State

Filed under: Section 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Gujraj
Respondent: The State
Citation: 1983 (2) Crimes 746, 1983 (5) DRJ 266
Court: In the High Court of Delhi
Judges: R.N. Aggarwal and G.R. Luthra

This is an appeal made by Gujraj against the judgement of the Additional Sessions Judge that convicted and sentenced him to imprisonment for life on charges of murder.

Facts

On the day of the murder Nathan Singh (the deceased) was sleeping on a cot in his room. On hearing loud shrieks, his son and grandson rushed to the room and found Gujraj hitting Nathan with a 'phawra'. On seeing them, Gujraj rushed out of the room.

Gujraj was reportedly addicted to 'charas' and alcohol for which Nathan frequently admonished him and hence Gujraj begrudged him.

Nathan's son raised an alarm so other people gathered and went to Gujraj's house. The door was latched from inside and he did not open the door despite their repeated knocking. Finally, they scaled an adjoining wall, and entered the premises to apprehend Gujraj.

Upon their return, they found that Nathan had succumbed to his injuries. A report was registered at the police station. The autopsy indicated that the head injuries were of sufficient magnitude to cause death. In his statement, Gujraj said that he had been falsely implicated on account of enmity and that he was actually sleeping in his house.

He further stated that the bloodstained weapon had been planted. He also stated that he was suffering from mental disorder on the day of the incident for which he was receiving treatment from the hospital for mental disorders at Shahdara. The Sessions Court rejected this plea of insanity. The present appeal was filed challenging that judgment.

Observations of the Court

The Court observed that there was sufficient evidence to indicate that Gujraj was guilty. With regard to the plea of insanity, the Court emphasized several points in this case -

  • First, the Court drew attention to the evidence given by a psychiatrist from Shahdara hospital. According to him there was no evidence of gross mental disorder on the two occasions that he had examined a patient. On cross-examination, he expressed that there might be some malfunctioning in him due to acute drunkenness; he acknowledged that a person could suffer from temporary insanity due to intake of 'charas' but that he had no idea about the quantity of 'charas' being taken by the patient. However the doctor was unable to state whether the patient examined by him was the same Gujraj as the accused. Considering the evidence, the Court came to the conclusion that the evidence did not definitely indicate that the patient examined was Gujraj. Moreover there has no evidence to ascertain that Gujraj was of unsound mind at the time of committing the crime.

  • Second, the case history available did not offer evidence that Gujraj was of unsound mind at the time of the incident whereby he was incapable of knowing the nature of the act.

  • Third, there were definite indications that Gujraj was of sound mind viz. he ran away from the site, bolted the door from inside which he did not open despite repeated knocking implying that he was aware of the consequences of his action.
Thus, the Court concluded that Gujraj assaulted Nathan with the intention of killing him and that there was no evidence to indicate that he was of unsound mind at the time of commitment of the act. Therefore, the appeal was dismissed and the conviction and sentence were upheld.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

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Lakshmi vs. The State

Filed under: Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
Appellant: Lakshmi
Respondent: State
Citation: AIR 1959 Allahabad 534 (V 46 C 142)
Court: In High Court of Allahabad
Judges: Nasirullah Beg and V.D. Bhargava

Lakshmi filed this appeal against the judgment of the Trial Court, which sentenced him for the murder of his stepbrother Chhedi Lal.

Facts

Lakshmi was addicted to 'ganja' and alcohol and used to demand money from his relatives including his stepbrother, Chhedi Lal. He would also beat up his wife and mother. On such occasions, Chhedi would have to intervene and would even chain him to prevent him from beating up the women.

A few days prior to the incident, Chhedi had chained Lakshmi for assaulting his mother and wife. Lakshmi broke the chain, escaped from captivity, ran and stopped talking to Chhedi. On the day of the murder, Chhedi was sitting outside his house when Lakshmi advanced towards him with a 'pharsa'and assaulted him.

Cheddi raised an alarm, which brought several people to the spot; Laksmi fled taking the 'pharsa' with him. About a couple of hours later, Cheddi succumbed to his injuries. Cheddi's son, Debi Dawal was an eyewitness to the incident so he lodged a FIR on the same night. The station officer visited the spot and prepared the inquiry report.

Lakshmi was found absconding and could not be arrested. Two days later, he surrendered in Court. The autopsy indicated that the cause of Cheddi's death was shock and hemorrhage as a result of injuries sustained by him. Lakshmi pleaded innocence. He also said that he had not run away with the 'pharsa' after striking Cheddi.

He admitted that he used to have 'ganja' and alcohol and people tied him up to stop him from doing that. However, the Trial Court found him guilty of murder. Lakshmi went on appeal against that judgement.

Arguments made on behalf of Lakshmi

The argument made on behalf of Lakshmi was that the crime committed by him was under the provision of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code. It was stated that Lakshmi was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that it was wrong or contrary to law by reason of unsoundness of mind. The main facts of the case however were not challenged.

Observations of the Court

The Court observed that there was evidence of motive for the murder in this case. As far as the plea of insanity was concerned, the Court observed that Lakshmi's conduct prior to the incident, during the incident and immediately after the incident did not support the plea that he was of unsound mind.

Moreover, his conduct history during the inquiry as well as in the Trial Court was not indicative of one with unsoundness of mind. Therefore the Court dismissed the appeal and maintained the conviction and sentence given by the Trial Court.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code

Cases Referred:

  • Anandi vs. Emperor, AIR 1923 All 327 (2) (V 10); 24 Cri LJ
  • Ashiruddin Ahmed vs. The King, AIR 1949 Cal 182 (V 36); 50 Cri LJ 255

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In re Manickam

Filed under: Section 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
Accused: In re Manickam
Citation: AIR (37) 1950 Madras 576
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judges: Govinda Menon and Krishnaswami Naidu

Facts

On the day before the incident, the deceased lost one of her domestic fouls. The next morning she was generally cursing the unknown thief and came near Manickam's house looking for the foul. Manickam thinking that she was abusing him came out of the house, caught her by her hair and cut her neck twice or thrice with an 'aruval' and killed her.

After that he went to his backyard, washed the 'aruval' and came back and sat in front of his house with the 'aruval' by his side. Information about the incident was sent to the village 'munsif' who was afraid of arresting him.

Later the police arrived and arrested Manickam and recovered the weapon. He took the defence of insanity. Two medical experts examined him and opined that during the observation his behaviour seemed normal. However, they felt that it would be difficult to find out the nature of the mental insanity subsequent to certain epileptic fits.

All the witnesses were of the opinion that Manickam had a certain kind of religious fervour. A homeopathic doctor, who had treated him some time before the crime, appeared as his witness and stated that he was mentally unbalanced and excited; not insane.

In such a situation the Court felt that it could not be said that he did not know if his actions were wrong when he cut the throat of the deceased.(refer to quotes). Due to Manickam's conduct after the incident, the Court felt that he knew that what he was doing was wrong and therefore, would not get the exemption under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code.

However, noting that he was not of sound mind at the time of the incident, the Court felt that there was no need to impose extreme penalty and reduced the sentence to life imprisonment. Therefore, the Court upheld the conviction of the Sessions Judge but reduced the sentence.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860

Quotes from the judgment:

"In order to attract S. 84, penal code, it must be shown that the person who perpetrates the deed did not know what he was doing. That is, if a man commits homicide he must be under the impression that he was not taking the life of the man but probably cutting an inanimate object or something like that, or it should be shown that in doing the act he did not know that he was doing a wrong thing"

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In re Kulandi Thevar

Filed under: Section 84, 302 of Indian Penal Code
Accused: In re Kulandi Thevar
Respondent: AIR (37) 1950 Madras 592 (CN 246)
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judge: Govinda Menon and Basheer Ahmed Sayeed

This is an appeal against the judgment of the Sessions Judge sentencing Kulandi Thevar to death penalty for murdering four young children.

Facts

Kulandi Thevar was sentenced to death by the Sessions Court for having killed four children and causing serious injury to eight other people. He admitted to the charges against him. Immediately after the murders he rushed to the police station with the bloodstained weapons and surrendered himself.

He stated that on the day of the crime he was hungry and someone confronted him, asking who he was. According to him, he was in a fatigued condition and he hurt the person with an 'aruval' that he had in his hand. Then he began to run and people were chasing him; in the course of this, he killed four children who came in his way and caused serious injury to eight other people.

He indicated that he had committed all of these acts on account of anger caused by hunger. On the basis of his statement and the evidence, the Sessions Court found him guilty under Section 302 and sentenced him to death. Hence the Sessions Court referred it to the High Court.

Observations made by the Court

The Court agreed with the Sessions Court that Kulandi had caused the death of the four children and caused injury to eight others. The argument that he made was that the facts of the case came within the ambit of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code.

The Court noted that Kulandi's act of rushing to the police station and surrendering himself indicated that he was capable of understanding the nature of the act and that it was wrong and contrary to law. Therefore Section 84 did not apply in this case.

The Court however reduced the sentence of death to transportation for life. It further made a recommendation to the Government under Section 401 of Criminal Procedure Code to deal with him as they deemed fit. The other sentences were confirmed.

Held: The sentence of death was reduced to transportation for life; other sentences were confirmed.

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84, 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860
  • Section 401 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1898

Cases Referred:

  • Geron Ali vs. Emperor, AIR (28) 1941 Cal. 129; 42 Cr.LJ 379
  • In Re Subbigadu, 49 MLJ 598; AIR (12) 1925 Mad. 1238; 27 Cr.LJ 46
  • Wazir vs. Emperor, AIR (35) 1948 Oudh 179; 49 Cr.LJ 279.
  • Emperor vs. Gedka Goala, 16 Pat. 333; AIR (24) 1937 Pat 363; 38 Cr. LJ 846
  • Mc. Naughten's case, 1843 10 C. & F. 200
  • Maniram vs. The Crown, 8 Lah. 114; AIR (14) 1927 Lah. 52; 28 Cr. L. J. 120
  • Queen Empress vs. Laxman Dagdu, 10 Bom 512
  • Queen Empress vs. Kader Nasyer Shah, 23 Cal 604

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Velusamy vs. the State of Tamil Nadu

Filed under: Section 84, 300 & 302 Indian Penal Code
Section 313 Criminal Procedure Code
Appellant: Velusamy
Respondent: The State of Tamil Nadu
Citation: MANU/TN/0038/1984 Decided on 18.09.1984 (unreported)
Court: In the High Court of Madras
Judges: S.A. Kader & T.N. Singaravalu

This is an appeal against the judgment and order of the Additional Sessions Judge Tirunalveli convicting Velusamy for murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment.

Facts

On the day of the incident i.e. 17.12.1978, Velusamy demanded money from his 70-year-old father Sangili. When Sangili refused to yield to the demand, Velusamy hit him on the head with a grinding stone, hence killing him. The incident took place in the presence of some relatives of Velusamy and Sangili.

The Sessions Judge found Velusamy guilty of murdering his father and convicted him under section 302 of Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The present appeal was then filed by Velusamy against the above judgment of the Sessions judge.

Arguments made on behalf of Velusamy

The primary argument advanced by the lawyer on behalf of Velusamy was that he was of unsound mind at the time of the commission of the act. Therefore, he was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or that it was contrary to law. The benefit of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) was thus sought for him.

In support of this argument he relied on a medical report by a doctor at the Institute of Mental Health Madras, which stated that Velusamy might have been suffering from unsoundness of mind for about 2 to 3 years prior to his medical examination, which was conducted to check if he could follow the proceedings of the Court.

Observations by the High Court

The High Court took into account the evidence provided by Velusamy’s family members who testified that Velusamy did not have any history of abnormality prior to or at the time of the incident. It was also concluded that Velusamy had a definite motive for killing his father. Velusamy had demanded money from his father who was a non-earning member of the family and when he refused to oblige, Veluswamy killed him.

However, during the period of the remand, Velusamy had also been found to be suffering from a mental ailment. On the requisition from the Sessions Judge, he was thus kept under observation for 10 days and was diagnosed as suffering from schizophrenia by Dr. Chandrasekaran. However on examination of the certificate and evidence provided by Dr. Chandrasekaran, the Trial Court had held that the accused was not suffering from any kind of mental ailment prior to the commission of the crime.

The High Court upheld the judgment of the Trial Court and observed that in the given background of events, a stray admission by a medical officer (on which the defense of Valasamy was based), that he might have suffered from insanity 2 or 3 years prior to the incident, did not establish that Velusamy was of unsound mind when the offence was committed.

The High Court also drew a distinction between legal and medical insanity, observing that the former is a much narrower concept and is confined to the impairment of the ability to think and reason which makes the offender incapable of knowing the nature of the act thus rendering him unconscious of its criminality. The court made it clear that it is not every kind of frantic behavior that classifies one as a ‘mad man’ entitled to exemption from punishment.

The High Court observed that this was a case where Velusamy, in full possession of his senses attacked his father and caused his death.

Held:The appeal was dismissed and the sentence and conviction by the Trial judge was confirmed.

Sections Referred:

  • Section 84 , 300 & 302 the Indian Penal Code
  • Section 313 Criminal Procedure Code

Cases Referred:

  • Navier Marolle, In Re 1970 Mad LJ (Cri) 718 a
  • Kandasami Mudali, In Re 1960 Mad LJ (Cri) 550: (1960 Cri LJ 930)

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State of Maharashtra vs. Gourishankar Kawadu Shende

Filed under: Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code Sections 367& 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code
Appellant: State of Maharashtra
Respondent: Gourishankar Kawadu Shende
Citation: AIR 1996 BOMBAY 179 (V 53 C 34)
Court: In the High Court of Maharastra at Nagpur
Judges: Wagle and Deshmukh

This is an application submitted by the State praying that the sentence of imprisonment of life be altered to sentence of death for Gourishankar Kawadu Shende who had been convicted for the brutal murder of his wife Anusuya.

Facts

Gourishankar Kawadu Shende married Anusuya and lived with her for about 14 years. During this period, she gave birth to four children. About 13 years after marriage, Gourishankar’s financial condition started deteriorating. In such circumstances, he suggested that Anusuya should sell herself for money and provide the means of livelihood for the family.

His wife, Anusuya was unwilling to do this and ultimately she left her husband along with her four children and started living with her brother across the street. On the day of the incident Anusuya, accompanied by the wives of her two brothers went to the vegetable and fish market. There they saw Gourishankar some distance away. Upon seeing them Gourishankar rushed towards them with a knife in his hand.

Seeing this, the wives of the brothers sidestepped and Anusuya began to run. Gourishankar chased her and held her by her hair. He gave her blows with the knife stabbing her on the abdomen. The blows were given with such intensity that her intestines came out and she fell to the ground. While this was going on Nana, a recently recruited police constable ran to rescue Anusuya and caught hold of Gourishankar from behind.

Gourishankar however, gave him a push and Nana fell down. He attempted to save Anusuya a second time but was pushed back yet again. While this was happening, the police constable on duty came and held the knife being used by Gourishankar. Along with two other constables Gourishankar was finally arrested. Anusuya however died immediately.

After the investigation was complete, Gourishankar was sent for trial and the Magistrate transferred the case to the Sessions Court. Gourishankar however, denied the charge and took the defense of insanity. The Sessions Court convicted him for murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The State however, challenged this judgment and filed the present appeal against the order.

Arguments made on behalf of Gourishankar

Gourishankar, in his defense stated that he used to live happily with his wife. According to him, it was on the instigation of Anusuya’s brother Sadhu that she had turned almost into a prostitute. He further contended that Anusuya had confessed this a year before the incident and this had upset him so much that he had fallen ill.

During the course of his illness his wife had not cared for him and on the contrary, had left the house and had gone to stay with her brother along with her children. At her brother’s place, she had continued to earn money through prostitution. This had disgusted Gourishankar but he had kept quiet. He also stated that on the day of the incident when he had gone to the bazaar, he had witnessed a woman being attacked by another person.

Out of humanitarian instincts, Gourishankar ran to help the woman. He had then seen the assailant Krishna running away. But, when he came closer he realized that the woman was his wife who had been murdered. He had picked her up and as a result of this he had got blood-stains on his clothes. He further stated that the witnesses had given false evidence since Sadhu and his wife had been responsible for his wife’s immoral deeds.

Observations of the Court

After discussing the evidence and the circumstances of the case, the Court stated that the Sessions Judge had been right in concluding that it was Gourishankar who had murdered Anusuya. However, the Court also opined that certain assumptions made by the Sessions Judge based on previous cases, regarding the unsoundness of Gourishankar’s mind were not justified.

The Court observed that the Sessions Judge had concluded that Gourishankar was not of a normal mind and that had been the reason behind him indulging in the brutal act of murder. However, the Sessions Judge had also contended that the exact circumstances that led Gourishankar to commit this murder had not been clearly shown. Because of this reason, the Sessions Court had opined that the maximum penalty of the sentence of death could not be imposed on Gourishankar.

Accordingly, Gourishankar was convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (I.P.C) and was sentenced to imprisonment of life by the Sessions Court. The Court however opined that Gourishankar had a motive to murder his wife. Even though the reasons had not been enough, they had still been sufficient.

The Court also proceeded to show how this case was different from the previous cases referred to by the Sessions Judge, in arriving at the above-mentioned conclusion. It was further contended by the Court that the decision taken by the Sessions Court was based on certain assumptions that were not justified (refer to quotes).

It was also held that if a Judge chooses to award life imprisonment instead of death to an individual convicted with murder, then he has to explain the reasons for doing so. According to the Court, the reasons extended by the Sessions Judge for giving this decision were not completely valid. Thus, the High Court held that Gourishankar’s case could not be considered with sympathy.

The Court thus confirmed the order of the conviction of Gourishankar under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code as passed by the Sessions Judge. However, the Court altered the sentence of imprisonment of life imposed by the Sessions Judge to death sentence.

Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 367& 439 of the Criminal procedure Code

Sections Referred:

  • Sections 84 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code and
  • Sections 367 & 439 of the Criminal procedure Code

Quotes from the judgment:

“It has not been shown by the prosecution nor has any material been elicited by the accused, to hold that the accused person’s mind was in any way affected. In the absence of any such circumstance or evidence, we are of the opinion that this inference raised by the learned Sessions Judge that the mind of the accused was far from normal is a speculation and has no reference to the facts of the case. It is undoubtedly true that a man does not commit the murder of his wife unless his mind is agitated. But the agitation of the mind does not necessarily lead to an inference that it had affected his mental capacity so as to lead to an inference that the mind was unhinged or had become unsound.” (Refer to page 188).

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