SC defines parameters for claiming benefit under Section 84

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New delhi, Aug 31 (UNI) In a ruling with wide ramifications, the Supreme Court has held that the police must get a man with a history of insanity medically examined, otherwise accused claiming to be insane at the time of committing crime will be entitled the benefit of doubt.

A bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and M K Sharma in their judgement pronounced on August 29 laid down parameters for those entitled to the benefit of Section 84 of the IPC and has ruled that a mentally unsound person has to be any of the following categories namely; an idiot, very ill, lunatic and drunk.

The apex court while maintaining the conviction and sentence of one Hari Singh Gond, a resident of Madhya pradesh, who had murdered his wife's grandfather said ''An idiot is one who is of non-sane memory from his birth, by a perpetual informity without lucid interval and those who are said to be idiots can not count even till 20 or tell the days of the week or do not know their father or mother or the like''.

The Supreme Court also ruled out that the burden of proving his insanity is on the accused, who wants to take benefit of Section 84, which says nothing is an offence done by a person who at the time of doing it, by reason of unsoundness of mind, is incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is either wrong or contrary to law.

The apex court also said ''Mere abnormality of mind or partial delusion, irresistable impulse or compulsive behaviour of a psychopath affodrs no protection under Section 84.

If the investigating agency came across a history of insanity, it is duty-bound to subject the accused to a medical examination.

If a medical examination is not done, the benefit of doubt has to be given to the accused.'' The court did not agree with the contension of the appellant, Hari Singh Gond, that he was an idiot when he committed the murder of his wife's grandfather claiming the benifit of Section 84.

The apex court therefore defined the conditions one has to fulfill for being declared an idiot.

UNI SC JT RN1654

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