Defence Of Insanity Can Be Claimed By Female Suffering From Premenstrual Stress Syndrome: Rajasthan HC [Read Judgment]

Defence Of Insanity Can Be Claimed By Female Suffering From Premenstrual Stress Syndrome: Rajasthan HC [Read Judgment]

‘Although the law has not much developed in India as to the Premenstrual Stress Syndrome being set up as the defense of insanity, yet the accused has a right to plead and probabilize such defence to show that she was suffering from ‘premenstrual stress syndrome’ when the crime was committed and because of her such condition, the offence that she committed was an involuntary act on her part, inasmuch owing to this fact, she was labouring under the defect of reason or was suffering from psychological disorder or unsoundness of mind.’

The Rajasthan High Court has acquitted a woman accused of murdering a child, on the ground that, at the time of the incident she was suffering from insanity triggered by premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS syndrome).

The prosecution case against Chandra was that she pushed three kids into well. Though two of them were rescued, one boy had died. Although it was pleaded before the trial court that she was suffering from mental disease known as premenstrual stress syndrome which made her aggressive few days prior to menses, the trial court convicted her for murder and attempt to murder.

A bench of Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Goverdhan Bardhar took note that three doctors have deposed in this case to the effect that the accused was suffering from premenstrual stress syndrome. The bench also perused their statement and also various books on the disease.

One of the doctors who had treated the accused had stated that a few females do not remain normal in the days proceeding to menses and may even become aggressive and violent and sometimes they may even commit suicide. Another doctor had stated that the symptoms of PMS in the accused were very severe when she visited his house and she was quite aggressive and that he had to give her tranquilizer.

The bench quoted one such article on PMS published in the Duke Law Journal which said: “Premenstrual stress syndrome (PMS syndrome) is a disorder afflicting many women.' The symptoms of PMS syndrome include excessive thirst and appetite, bloating, headaches, anxiety, depression, irritability, and general lethargy. Diagnosis depends on the timing of the symptoms rather than on their type, number, or severity; not all patients experience all possible symptoms. The symptoms develop and increase in intensity from seven to fourteen days prior to the onset of menses and disappear rapidly thereafter. PMS syndrome can range in severity from mild to incapacitating, in both a physical and psychological sense.”

The bench, acquitting the accused, said: “Although the law has not much developed in India as to the Premenstrual Stress Syndrome being set up as the defense of insanity, yet the accused has a right to plead and probabilize such defence to show that she was suffering from ‘premenstrual stress syndrome’ when the crime was committed and because of her such condition, the offence that she committed was an involuntary act on her part, inasmuch owing to this fact, she was labouring under the defect of reason or was suffering from psychological disorder or unsoundness of mind. She can, within the scope of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code, set up such a plea and substantiate the same by evidence.”

Read the Judgment Here