Skip to main content

Prosecution Of A Unsound Mind Person

Unsound Mind

Introduction:
Chapter XXV of the Code of Criminal Procedure deals with the provisions in relation to the accused persons of Unsound Mind. Where Section 328 talks about the procedure in case of accused being lunatic, 329 talks about procedure being dealt with when the person si unsound mind.

Section 329 states as follows: (1) “If at the trial of any person before a Magistrate or Court of Session, it appears to the Magistrate or Court that such person is of unsound mind and consequently incapable of making his defence, the Magistrate or Court shall, in the first instance, try the fact of such unsoundness and incapacity, and if the Magistrate or Court, after considering such medical and other evidence as may be produced before him or it, is satisfied of the fact, he or it shall record a finding to that effect and shall postpone further proceedings in the case.[1] (2) The trial of the fact of the unsoundness of mind and incapacity of the accused shall be deemed to be part of his trial before the Magistrate or Court.[2]

Scope Of The Section:
This section deals with the application in the Magistrate Court or the Court of Session at District level. The Court is under a liability to at first place take into consideration whether the person against whom the enquiry has been held is of unsound mind or not. As per the principles of natural justice[3] the accused who is believed to be of unsound mind has every right to be heard before the Court. In the case of Dr. Jaishankar v state of Himachal Pradesh,[4] the phrase “reason to believe” was interpreted and it was held that it means that belief which a reasonable person would entertain on the facts placed before him. It was also held further that the Magistrate was “duty bound” to try into the unsoundness of mind before having the case commenced. Therefore, with regards to Section 464 of the Criminal Procedure Code, it was held that this enquiry must be a threshold one.

In another case of State of Mysore v Seetharam[5], it was held that if on an enquiry held for the unsoundness leads the Court to the belief that the person is of sound mind and in his reasonableness, was capable of making his defence at the time of his trial, he will be prosecuted under subsequent sections for the offences committed by him.

Therefore, if he is found to have a sound mind, an enquiry must be held under 332 and he should be dealt under 333 and 334. If not, the proceedings must be stayed and action must be taken under Section 330 until he reverts to sanity.
The object of the enquiry under this section of Cr.P.C. is to check whether the person is capable of making his defence or not.

Inquiry Into Unsoundness Of The Mind:
Mere certificate in regards to the insanity of the person is not enough. This means to say that the medical certificate that is prescribed for the accused by the Medical officer is not enough and the Magistrate must examine him. In the plea of insanity raised by the accused, it is the duty of the prosecution to subject the accused in the trial to medical examination immediately. This carries importance because if it is found out during the course of the investigation that the accused has been suffering from a mental disease, the prosecution is further duty bound to place before the Court all the evidence that could be available to show that the accused had committed the offence with a proper state of mind. [6]

If it appears to the Judge that the accused is incapable of making his defence, his duty is to follow the procedure in Section 329. There lies a distinction between incapacity at the time of commission of offence and at the time of trial. [7] Where it appears to the Court that the accused is perfectly normal and that no mental disorder is apparent, there is no obligation to make any enquiry. But, if doubt arises in relation to the soundness of mind at any stage when the trial is commenced, the obvious course would be to postpone the hearing and inquire in to the matter first.

Analysis And Inference:
The Court is very supportive with the accused in the cases when he is of unsound mind. When the medical report states that he is of unsound mind, it is directed to be taken up for hearing as the Court is also justified with the fact that because he is unable to make himself heard or through a lawyer, he is Court would provide him with the reasonable opportunity of being heard. The Court in these circumstances is bound to afford him the same protection to which he would have been entitled having been of unsound mind at the time of trial. [8]

_________________________________________
[1] Section 329 (1) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
[2] Section 329 (2) Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973.
[3] Article 14, Article 311 The Constitution of India, 1950.
[4] Dr. Jaishankar v State of Himachal Pradesh, AIR 1972 SC 2267.
[5] State of Mysore v Seetharam, AIR 1964 Mys 50.[6] State of Maharashtra v Gobind Mahatarba Shinde, 2010 Cr LJ 3586 (3590) (Bom).
[7] Durga Charan, 65 CWN 290.
[8] Vivian Rodrick v State of W.B. 1969 3 SCC 176.

Popular posts from this blog

Art of Cross Examination used by: Sr. Adv. Ram Jethmalani, Supreme court

“The issue of a cause rarely depends upon a speech and is but seldom even affected by it. But there is never a cause contested, the result of which is not mainly dependent upon the skill with which the advocate conducts his cross examination.”- Francis L. Wellman

When asked, the undisputed champion of cross-examination, Mr. Ram Jethmalanidescribed the art of cross-examination as the most effective weapon for the discovery of truth, provided the objective is not to confound a truthful witness but to extract truth from an unwilling witness.
The search for truth is the ultimate and idealistic end of all litigated matter in a court trial, and that truth is obtained due to the process of cross examination in the conduct of litigation.

Mr. Jethmalani understands that in India where large number of complaints and cases are filed in civil and criminal courts every day, delay in justice is common due to the rapidly growing pendency of cases in courts. Examination of witnesses plays an important …

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): India's Dark Secret

“My mum told me, come, I will take you out and buy you chocolates. I happily went with her. She took me to bohri mohalla a cluster where 90% bohras live. We went into this dark building. I remember being taken into a room. The curtains were drawn. She said lie down. Like an obedient child, I lay. My grandmother was holding my hands. An old woman pulled down my pants….i started crying. Grandma said don’t worry, it will be over in a jiffy. I shrieked in pain. I experienced a sharp, shooting pain and she put some black powder there. I came home and cried and cried and cried..”

This is the story of one victim, who was brave enough to come forward but she is not alone in her plight. She is merely a symbol, an echo of the dark horror of Female Genital Mutilation that exists in societies even today. It has mutated, changed forms, it hides in those dark corners, those shady gulliis. The elite mainstream society pretends that this practice does not exist anymore however the evil continues, lur…

Cultural and Educational Rights in Indian Constitution

CULTURAL AND EDUCATIONAL RIGHTS
Art. 29-30:

SYNOPSIS –
1) Introduction
2) Protection of interest of minorities.
3) Right of minority to establish educational institutions.
4) Regulation of minority educational institutions.
5) Supreme Court decision in TM.A. pre-foundation v. Karnataka.
6) Conclusion.


1) Introduction -

Art. 29 and 30 protect and guarantee certain cultural and educational rights to various cultural, religious and linguistic' minorities located in India. According to Art. 29(1), any section of citizens residing in any part of India having a distinct language, script or culture of its own has right 'to conserve the same' . This Constitutional provision therefore protects the language, script or culture of a section of the citizens. In order to invoke Art. 29(1) it is essential that a section of the citizens, residing in India should have a distinct language, script or culture of its own.

According to Art. 29(2) admissions are not to be denied to any citizen into any e…

Advt.