The Patna High Court, in Gauri Shankar Mandal vs State of Bihar, has referred to the division bench a peculiar question with regard to examination of victims suffering from mental ailment.
The issue referred is that whether just like for trial of an insane accused is concerned, the trial is to be held up till he suffers from insanity, opportunity is available to a witness deferring her/ his examination till having been properly cured from mental ailment.
In the instant case, the question arose while hearing an appeal by a person convicted of committing rape of an insane woman. The contention on behalf of the appellant was that the trial court did not consider the question whether the victim was suffering from insanity at the time of her evidence, though she, on the first day, had shown unusual activity, whereupon the case was adjourned. It was also urged that her evidence is liable to be rejected.
Justice Aditya Kumar Trivedi observed: “There happens to be special provision prescribed for trial relating to insane, lunatic, accused under the Criminal Procedure Code, properly identifiable under Chapter-XXV, but so far status of witness/ victim is concerned, there happens to be no such provision available under the Criminal Procedure Code guiding the affair.”
Referring the question to division bench, the court observed: “Question now remains to be answered is, being layman, the rustic illiterate villagers are not in a position to identify as well as bifurcate the aforesaid two kinds of mental disorder. That being so, its impact over admissibility of evidence, if the witness is being examined, is to be properly adjudicated upon, and further, the activity of the Court before recording of evidence relating to the particular witness have also to be pinpointed. In likewise manner, whether the trial Court should wait till witness is cured likewise the status of an accused so prescribed under Chapter-XXV, in case, witness is found insane.”