Bombay HC Holds Man To Be Legally Insane Despite Contrary Medical Opinion [Read Judgment]

Bombay HC Holds Man To Be Legally Insane Despite Contrary Medical Opinion [Read Judgment]

The Bombay High Court recently ruled a man to be "legally insane", despite the fact that he was found to not be suffering from any mental disorder by the Yerwada Mental Hospital.

The order was passed by a Bench comprising Justice SS Shinde and Justice RG Avachat.
The court had been approached by the accused, challenging a judgment passed in October 2013, convicting him of murder and sentencing him to life imprisonment.
As per the prosecution, the accused lynched a shopkeeper of his village with a stone in 2012, when the latter refused to give him Pepsi candy for free. He calmed down only after his brother came to the spot and tied his hands and legs. The incident was video recorded by the villagers.
Before the trial court, the appellant had pleaded not guilty, taking the defence of insanity and claiming that the victim was mauled by a stray crow. The incident had, however, been witnessed by several eyewitnesses, who had submitted in unequivocal testimonies that they had seen the accused bludgeoning the victim to death. He was, therefore, found guilty by the lower court.
The high court, however, did not agree with the trial court's finding, and took note of the surrounding circumstances to hold him legally insane. It noted that the accused fought with the deceased over a trivial issue and that his hands and legs had to be tied down later. It further noted that no one from his family stood by his side during the trial and observed,
"These facts indicate that the appellant must not have been in his senses when he assaulted the deceased as a result of refusal to give him a pepsi, then worth Re.1. He had been under psychiatric treatment. He, by reason of not having been in his senses, did not know the nature of the act that would otherwise have constituted offence of murder. It is therefore held that the appellant has killed the deceased. Same however did not constitute the offence of murder or any other offence punishable under Indian Penal Code."
The impugned order was, therefore set aside. The accused was, however, directed to be detained at the Yerwada Mental Hospital, Pune for necessary medical treatment, with the court observing,
"He however can not be set free. There is evidence to indicate the appellant to have other close relations. None of them come forward to claim him. The appellant is legally insane. It is therefore, desirable to keep him in safe custody and extend him medical treatment. The same is in the interest of the accused and the society, as well."
Read the Judgment Here