Raj HC | Burden on the defence to prove the plea of insanity is only to the extent of establishing the same by preponderance of probabilities, need not be proved beyond all manner of doubt

Rajasthan High Court: A Division Bench of Sandeep Mehta and Sameer Jain, JJ. allowed the appeal and quashed and set aside the impugned judgment.

The appellant Mohanlal was married to Smt. Jhamka (hereinafter referred to as ‘the deceased’) daughter of Sanwla Ram about 5 years before the incident. Smt. Jhamka was inflicted injuries at her matrimonial home on 05-07-2013 and was taken to the hospital where, she was declared dead. on account of demand of dowry. The accused Mohanlal took a specific plea of insanity in his explanation and stated that he was suffering from a bout of schizophrenia on the date of the incident. The appellant herein has been convicted and sentenced as below vide judgment. Being aggrieved of his conviction and sentences, the appellant has preferred the instant appeal under Section 374(2) Cr.P.C.

Counsel for appellant submitted that the accused was suffering from insanity well before and even on the day of the incident and thus, he is entitled to the benefit of plea of insanity by virtue of Section 84 of the IPC which was corroborated by witnesses and medical expert and thus the benefit of Section 84 IPC be given.

Counsel for respondents submitted that based on the evidence produced before the court especially the blood samples collected from the place of the alleged crime were subjected to Forensic examination and all tested positive for presence of ‘B’ Group human blood which establishes beyond all manner of doubt that the accused appellant was responsible for inflicting the fatal injuries to Smt. Jhamka. He contended that the murder was committed inside the matrimonial home and as the presence of the accused in the house has been established by unimpeachable evidence, by virtue of Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, the burden would shift on to the accused.

As per the evidence and by resorting to the reverse burden of proof under Section 106 of the Indian Evidence Act, the Court observed that the appellant inflicted the fatal sharp weapon injuries to his wife. Hence, we have no hesitation in concluding that the trial court was perfectly justified in holding that the appellant herein inflicted the blows by a sharp weapon to Smt. Jhamka thereby causing her death. Thus, the injuries were sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death and hence, the offence punishable under Section 302 IPC is well established from the material placed on record by the prosecution.

The Court further observed that having considered the entirety of material available on the record, the evidence of the medical experts and the prescription slips which have been proved by these experts, there is unimpeachable documentary as well as oral evidence which establishes beyond all manner of doubt that the accused was being provided treatment for the mental ailment since the year 2010 onwards. A Medical Board was constituted to examine the accused under the order of the court in the year 2016, and even at that time, he was found suffering from Psychosis NOS.

What is Psychosis NOS?

Psychosis, Not Otherwise Specified (NOS) is a categorization of symptoms within general diagnosis of Psychosis. Modi’s Medical Jurisprudence and Toxicology grades Psychosis as an acutely severe mental disorder, where the patient loses contact with reality along with absolute lack of empathy and absence of insight.

The Court relied on judgment Devidas Loka Rathod v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 2018 SC 3093 and observed that the burden on the defence to prove the plea of insanity is only to the extent of establishing the same by preponderance of probabilities and such a defence need not be proved beyond all manner of doubt. Thus, the conclusion drawn by the trial court that the defence failed to prove that the accused was affected with such mental ailment, which prevented him from understanding the consequences of his acts, is totally unjustified.

The Court held “In wake of the discussion made herein above, we are persuaded to accept the plea of insanity advanced on behalf of the appellant to overturn his conviction as recorded by the trial court by the impugned Judgment.”

The Court further directed “The appellant is acquitted of the charges. He is in custody. He shall be released from prison forthwith if not wanted in any other case. After his release from prison, the appellant shall be provided care and support befitting his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.” [Mohan Lal v. State, 2022 SCC OnLine Raj 185, decided on 27-01-2022]


Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.


Appearances:

For Appellant(s): Mr. Dinesh Vishnoi.

For Respondent(s): Mr. B.R. Bishnoi

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