Question:  Discuss insanity as a defence to a crime. [U.P.C.J. 2012] Or To what extent is unsoundness of mind accepted as a defense to criminal liability under I.P.C.? Or What type of persons can claim the benefit of an exception embodied in Sec. 84 of the Indian Penal Code? [R.J.S. 1974, UPCJ 2000] Find the answer to the… Read More »

Question: Discuss insanity as a defence to a crime. [U.P.C.J. 2012] Or To what extent is unsoundness of mind accepted as a defense to criminal liability under I.P.C.? Or What type of persons can claim the benefit of an exception embodied in Sec. 84 of the Indian Penal Code? [R.J.S. 1974, UPCJ 2000] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the insanity as a defence to a crime.] Answer Insanity is defined as a valid defense under Section 84 of the Indian Penal...

Question: Discuss insanity as a defence to a crime. [U.P.C.J. 2012]

Or

To what extent is unsoundness of mind accepted as a defense to criminal liability under I.P.C.?

Or

What type of persons can claim the benefit of an exception embodied in Sec. 84 of the Indian Penal Code? [R.J.S. 1974, UPCJ 2000]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Discuss the insanity as a defence to a crime.]

Answer

Insanity is defined as a valid defense under Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code.

It includes act done:

  • Due to unsoundness of mind- no free will- born idiot, temporary failure, madman, unconscious, intoxicated.
  • Incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that it is wrong or contrary to law.

The point to be emphasized is that if a person is taking insanity as a defense, then he has to prove legal insanity along with medical insanity. To seek protection under section 84, IPC, the accused must prove that he was unable to know the ‘nature of the act’ or that the act was’ unlawful’. The time when he committed the offence is the crucial point of such incapacity due to ‘mental insanity’. The “insanity” before or after the execution of the crime is not adequate in itself to free him from criminal liability.

As per Section84 following are the essential points to determine the tests for insanity defence:

  1. At the time of commission of offence
  2. State of mind before and after
  3. Only organic or natural incapability, not uncontrollable impulses, weak intellect, or eccentric behaviour.

The House of Lords laid the foundation for the law of insanity in 1843, in what is popularly known as the case of Reg v. Mc Naughten, (1843) 10 CI & F 200. The defendant Daniel M’Naghten suffered from a misconception that he was hurt by Sir Robert Peel, Britain’s then Prime Minister. He mistook Sir Robert Peel’s Secretary to the Prime Minister, Edward Drummond and shot him down and killed him. The defendant accepted the insanity plea. The medical evidence revealed that M’Naghten was operating under a dark paranoia which pushed him beyond his own control’s capacity. He was found to be not guilty owing to insanity or being an insane person.

In Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakker v. State of Gujarat [AIR 1964 SC 1563], the SC held that “It is not every type of insanity which is recognised medically that is given the protection of this section. Medical insanity is different from legal insanity.

The insanity, for the purpose of s 84, should be of such a nature that it completely impairs the cognitive faculty of the mind, to such an extent that he is incapable of knowing the nature of his acct or what he is doing is wrong or contrary to law. It is only the legal and not the medical insanity that absolves an accused from criminal responsibility.”

In Surya Prasad v. State of Orissa [(1982) Cr LJ 931 (Ori)], it was held that “If at the time of committing the offence the accused knew the nature of the act, he is obviously punishable.”


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. IPC Mains Questions Series Part I: Important Questions
  2. IPC Mains Questions Series Part II: Important Questions
  3. IPC Mains Questions Series Part III: Important Questions
  4. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IV: Important Questions
  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
  6. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VI: Important Questions
  7. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VII: Important Questions
  8. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VIII: Important Questions
  9. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IX: Important Questions
  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions
Updated On 2021-07-05T19:34:02+05:30
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