The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court has quashed an FIR registered against Savita, a 25-year-old woman from Osmanabad who attempted to murder her 3-month-old son in 2015, as she was suffering from postpartum depression.
A division bench of Justice SS Shinde and Justice KK Sonwane was hearing an application filed by Savita under Section 482 of the IPC.
According to the prosecution, Savita’s husband Manish was informed on December 9, 2015, that his three-month-old son had been poisoned and was rushed to the hospital. Upon reaching the hospital, Manish found out that his son was critical.
He was told that some unknown person (with a description) forcibly administered insecticide on the newborn and after Savita raised an alarm, their neighbours helped her take the child to the hospital. An FIR was filed by Manish against the said unknown person.
During the course of the investigation, Savita’s child was undergoing treatment at a hospital in Sholapur. One day, Savita picked her newborn child, took him outside and then abandoned him near a scrap building material lying in an open space.
Eyewitnesses at the time of the incident then registered another complaint against Savita. Thus, a consolidated charge sheet was filed against Savita for offence under Section 307 (attempt to murder).
According to Savita’s lawyer SS Jadhavar, during the relevant period of commission of crime, his client was suffering from mental illness, known as postpartum depression, which generally happens to a woman after delivery.
Savita’s husband and other relatives filed affidavits in support of her claim, stating that they would take care of Savita and the child.
Section 84 of the IPC states that “Nothing is an offence which is done by a person who, at the time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.”
Applying the above provision to the present case, the court said: “The applicant was not capable to understand the nature of seriousness of her act at the relevant time of commission of crime. She was not mentally conscious to realize the consequences of her act. She was not knowing that she was doing wrong which is contrary to law. She was not in mental condition to think about the repercussion of her act owing to unsoundness of mind. Therefore, we do not find any impediment to arrive at the conclusion that whatever the act committed by the applicant would not be an offence as envisaged u/sec. 84 of the IPC.”
Concluding that the case in Sessions Court against Savita would ultimately result in her acquittal, the high court quashed and set aside the FIR registered against her.
Read the Judgment here.