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NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY ODISHA

INDIAN PENAL CODE PROJECT


ON
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MEDICAL INSANITY AND LEGAL
INSANITY

PROJECT WORK SEMESTER IV

COURSE INSTRUCTORS:
MRS SUMAN BHATTAMISHRA
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR
NATIONAL LAW UNIVERSITY ODISHA

SUBMITTED BY:
ANANYA RATH
13 BBA007

TABLE OF CONTENT

INTRODUCTION............................................................................................................................4

Meaning and Definitions of Insanity:...........................................................................4

What is meant by Insanity defense?............................................................................. 4

RESEARCH METHEDOLOGY:......................................................................................................5
SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS...........................................................................................................6
OBJECTIVE.....................................................................................................................................6
RESEARCH QUESTIONS...............................................................................................................7
SOURCES........................................................................................................................................7
DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPT OF DEFENSE OF INSANITY..........................................8
MNAGHTEN RULE FOR THE DEFENCE OF LEGAL INSANITY............................................10
AUTOMATISM AND INSANITY....................................................................................................14
STATUTORY POSITION OF DEFENSE OF INSANITY IN INDIA..............................................15

MEANING OF INCAPABLE OF KNOWING THE NATURE OF THE ACT:.........................17

SUGGESTIONS.............................................................................................................................18

DRAWBACKS:.................................................................................................... 18

CONCLUSION.............................................................................................................................19
BIBLIOGRAPHY.........................................................................................................................20
I.

BOOKS:............................................................................................................ 20

II.

INTERNET RESOURCES:..................................................................................... 20

INTRODUCTION
We as individuals have certain rights, duties, obligations towards each other and the society. We
are socially, morally and legally bound to perform to maintain peace stability and harmony in the
society. State formulates certain legal liabilities to maintain law and order and individual who
violates these are punished so as to develop respect for the law of land and prevent others from
committing such illegal acts. General principle of Criminal law states every act is not considered
as criminal liability if its not committed with a mala fide intention. Actus Rea and Mens Rea are
the two elements which constitutes an offence, so in order to prosecute a person its necessary to
prove that both elements are present during commission of the act. If its proved before the court
that during the commission of the act the accused was suffering from a mental disease or was
unable to differentiate between the nature of action that what is right and what is wrong then
court cannot move forward to prosecute the accused as; mens reas was present during the
commission of the act. This is known as the rule of Insanity.

Meaning and Definitions of Insanity:


According to the Blacks Law Dictionary, Insanity means;
Any mental disorder severe enough that it prevents a person from having legal capacity and
excuses the person from criminal or civil responsibility, also insanity is a legal standard and not
a medical standard.

What is meant by Insanity defense?


As per Blacks Law Dictionary Insanity defense is,
An affirmative defense alleging that a mental disorder caused the accused to commit the
crime.
Plea of Insanity is a plea taken by the accused that during the commission of the act he/she was
suffering from a mental disease and was not in a position to understand whether his act is right or
wrong, hence it is said that he is not liable for such an act as it wasnt committed intentionally. It
also states that a person cannot be held liable if he had a guilty mind so no punishment. The rule
of insanity absolves a person from criminal liability on the basis of guilty of mind.

RESEARCH METHEDOLOGY:
The information accumulation depended on qualitative research methods in collecting and
analyzing data. The techniques comprised of library research, utilizing different textbooks,
database and websites. History of Insanity defence tests, position of the defence of legal insanity
in India was found in Jstor and various other databases. Manupatra was used to find cases
required for the same. Various books on Indian Penal Code helped chapeterizing and gave a brief
on the topic.

SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS

Scope of the paper is limited to the position of defence of insanity in India, tests to determine
legal insanity, position of insanity during commission of crime but it doesnt cover the position
of insanity during the time of trial. This paper is limited as there was no primary research so all
the topics discussed is from secondary sources and based on the secondary resource conclusion
has been drawn. This paper only deals with the theoretical approach but the practical application
in the courts

OBJECTIVE

Objective of the paper is to talk about different types of tests of legal insanity and development
of legal insanity as a defence. This paper also deals with the position of legal insanity in India
and the application of the same. This paper also talks about the position of defence of insanity in
India and if there is a need to change in India or not.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS
The research questions in this paper are as follows:
1. How did the tests of the legal insanity develop?
2. What is the current accepted test of legal insanity and what are its various elements?
3. What is the position of the defense of insanity India?
4. What is the test of legal insanity used in India?

SOURCES
The information used in this research involves secondary data which includes:
1. Already proved and processed information,
2. Information which is helped in analysis , formulating suggestions and recommendations for
the topic
3. The sources are journals, textbooks and various blogs and other internet sources.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPT OF DEFENSE OF INSANITY

The defense of legal insanity developed on the following principles:


a. Furiosis Nulla Voluntais Est:

This principle states that a mad man cannot act

intentionally or cannot have volition and hence possess no mens rea,


b. Furiosis Abesntis Loco Est: This principle states that a mad person even if he is present
on the scene of the crime it os equivalent to him not being present on the scene of the
crime, and
c. Furiosis Furore Sui Puniter: This principle states that a mad mans madness is a
punishment for himself.
Defence of Legal insanity has been existence since 20 th century. And the development included
three stages which are as follows:
i)The good and evil test
ii) The wild beast test
iii) Hadfields test
iv) The right and wrong test
THE GOOD AND EVIL TEST : The good and evil test states that it is necessary to find out
whether the accused person has the capacity to differentiate between good and evil and if he fails
then he can use the defense of insanity. This test was developed when the question arose whether
insane person can and where use defence of insanity.
THE WILD BEAST TEST: In this a mad man is compared to a beast as a normal human being
can distinguish between good and evil unlike the mad man. The Wild Beast Test evolved from
the case Rex v Arnold,in this case there were enough evidences to prove that Arnold was
mentally disabled. The judge suggested the jury to acquit the defendant and the reasoning he
gave evolved the Wild Beast test. He said a mad man. Must be a man that is totally deprived
of this understanding and memory and doesnt not know what is he doing no more than a brute
or a wild breast such a one is never the object of punishment1.
1 See at, http://law.jrank.org/pages/1133/Excuse-Insanity-Development-insanity-defense-doctrine.html,
(last seen on March 26, 2014

HADFIELDS TEST: This test evolved from R v Hadfield2, which laid down that to use the
defense of legality to need to find out whether there was delusion which was the consequence of
insanity and it is so then the person should be excused for commission of the crime. This test had
drawbacks because it only dealt with delusion as a form of insanity.
THE RIGHT AND WRONG TEST: This test was evolved in R v Bowler which stated that an
individual can use the defense of insanity only if he doesnt have the capacity to distinguish
between right and wrong. The idea of insanity expanded in the case R v Oxford where the judge
was asked by the jury to find o

2 1800 27 How St. Tr. 765

MNAGHTEN RULE FOR THE DEFENCE OF LEGAL INSANITY

Queen v MNaghten3 is one of the landmark cases which laid down few more test of insanity. In
this case defendant Daniel MNaghten assumed that Robert Peel, the Prime Minister was plotting
against him. He shot Drummond whom he misunderstood as Robert Peel. The jury said the
defendant isnt guilty by the reason of insanity. This created a lot of screech in the public as to
how be the person who tried to assassinate the Prime Minister being let out free and this decision
was stated wrong saying that anybody who would assassinate the Prime Minister would be
allowed to go free if he proves his insanity This was debated in the House of Lord and responses
where crafted as MNaghten rules in Britain. These are few issues which came up to the House
of Lords during this case:

i.

Should the court start with a presumption of sanity or should it begin with a presumption

ii.
iii.

of insanity?
What is the relevance of time in the defense of insanity?
What is the relevance of knowledge and consciousness when indulging in the

iv.
v.

commission of the crime?


What is the degree of liability in the case of insane delusion?
What is the relevance of the nature and quality of the act in the defense of insanity?

The House of Lords answered to these questions and these answers were known as MNaghten
Rules, the rules are as follows:1. Every man is presumed to be sane, and to possess a sufficient degree of reason to be
responsible for his crimes, until the contrary is proven to the satisfaction of the jury,
2. To establish a defense on the grounds of insanity, it must be clearly show that, at the time
of committing the act, the party accused was laboring under such a defect of reason, from
disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act that he was doing, or
(if he did know this) not to know that what he was doing was morally wrong,
3. As to his knowledge of the wrongfulness of the act, the judges said:
If the accused was conscious that the act was on which he ought not to do and if that act
was at the same time contrary to the law of the land, he is punishable. Thus the test is

3 8 ER 718, Volume 8

the power of distinguishing between right and wrong, not, as was once supposed, in the
abstract, but in regard to the particular act committed,
4. Where a criminal act is committed by a man under some insane delusion as to the
surrounding facts, which conceals from him the true nature of the act he is doing, he will
be under the same degree of responsibility as if the facts had been as he imagined them to
be. He may, for instance, kill under the imagination either that he is killing a person for
the purposes of self defense or on the other hand, merely that he is killing a person for
revenge.

An individual to go to use this test of insanity has to go through few tests such as:
a) The defendant must have been suffering from a defect of reason, from disease of the
mind, and
b) If he was, there are three more questions that the person would have to satisfy and they
are:
1) Is it that, in consequence of this defect of reason, the defendant was not aware or
did not know of the nature and the quality of the act?
2) If he did, did he not know it was wrong?
3) Was he under delusion?
There are two ways under which the above questions are satisfied, they are as follows:
I.

One is the defendant wasnt aware of the nature and quality of the act he was committing;
this would prove that there was no mens rea involved during the commission of crime.

II.

Other one can be even if he was aware of the nature and quality, he didnt know what he
was committing is right or wrong.

There are few aspects of MNaghten rules,they are as follows:A.


B.
C.
D.

Disease of the mind,


Defect of reason,
The nature and quality of the act that was committed, and
Knowledge that the act that the defendant committed was wrong.

DISEASE OF MIND: Disease of Mind can be one of the reason if the defendant didnt know
the quality and the nature of act he has committed, he will be acquitted on the grounds that he
lacked mens rea while commission of crime. The onus of proof lies on the defendant if he claims
that the defect of reason arose because of disease of mind. Its on the judge to decide whether the
defendant who has raised the defence of insanity is really insane or not, even if hes medically
proven to be insane. In R v Sullivan4 in which the defendant was suffering from epilepsy kicked
the victim and injured him. The defendant was arrested and charged with assault, but the trial
judge held that the defendant wasnt guilty of the crime committed and this judgment was upheld
by the House of Lords. According to the judgment of R v Sullivan case, the definition of diseases
of mind is any disease which produces a malfunctioning in the mind of the accused.After this
judgment was out there were questions regarding the definition of disease of mind? As to can
defendant claim insanity for any disease of mind he has or is it for specific diseases. According
to the above case the definition of disease is very broad. They have classified it into two parts;
External factors and the internal factor. The issue here was whether insanity can be used as a
defense in both cases (external as well as internal factor). By internal factors it means anything
internal for example if the person is suffering from diabetes or any other internal disease.
Whereas external factors might include malfunctioning of brain due to consumption of alcohol or
drugs. The question after this case was whether all the external factors will be considered to be
insanity. In R v Quick5 case there was a distinction whether it was a case of insanity or
automatism. In this case the defendants argument was while he was committing the crime he
had induced overgenerous insulin and thats the reason he didnt do this act voluntarily. The trial
judge ruled this as a case of insanity not automatism but on appeal it was rules that it was a case
of automatism as per the facts of the cases. In R v Kemp case it says that physical illness can also
be included in disease of mind.

4 [1984] AC 156, [1983] 2 All ER Crim 2689

5 [1973] QB 910, [1973] Crim LR 434

DEFECT OF REASON Defect of mind is another requirement for the MNaghten rules,the
defect of mind of the defendant must be caused because of the disease of mind and only in such
circumstances will defence of mind will allowed as a defense.
NATURE AND QUALITY OF ACT Nature and Quality of act says that the person committing
the act did not know the physical nature and quality of the act. For example: If A was a mentally
insane person whereas B was a sane person. A likes B and thought of playing a game with him,
what he does is, he thinks it will be funny if after B wakes up finds his head somewhere else,
thinking so he cuts his head and keeps it inside the cupboard. In this case A didnt know the
physical nature or the quality of act so it can be used as a defence.
KNOWLEDGE THAT THE ACT IS WRONG Knowledge that act is wrong is another
requirement of MNaghten which is concerned whether the accused was able to understand the
wrongness of the act that he was committing at the time he was alleged to constitute the crime.
This phrase means that the accused knows the act he is committing is against the law of land and
here wrong means that any act that is done against the law of land but wrong in this context
means legally wrong.
DRAWBACKS OF MNAGHTEN RULES. Drawbacks were seen in MNaghten rules as there
were many cases that came up in which the person committing the act is aware of the nature and
quality of the act and is also aware that the act hes committing is wrong and yet he commits the
act as he cannot control what he is doing which is termed as irresistible impulse. Such person
would not have any defense under MNaghten rules.

AUTOMATISM AND INSANITY

Blacks Law Dictionary defines automatism as:


1. Conduct occurring without will, purpose or reasoned intention such as sleep
walking, behavior carried out in a state of unconsciousness or mental dissociation
without full awareness
2. The state of a person who, though capable of action, is not conscious of his or her
actions.
Blacks Law Dictionary defines insanity as:
1. Any mental disorder severe enough that it prevents a person from having legal capacity
and excuses the person from criminal or civil responsibility
The difference between automatism and insanity are as follows:
1. Automatism is the malfunctioning of the mind caused by external factor, but in case of
insanity is the malfunctioning of the mind must be caused by internal factor.
2. In case of insanity the person is acquitted on the ground of insanity but in case of
automatism the accused is acquitted not on the grounds of insanity but also can be
situation in which the person isnt conscious about his act.
3. In case of insanity the accused can be ordered by the court to be admitted into the mental
asylum but in case of automatism it isnt so.
4. Examples of insanity are epilepsy, schizophrenia etc. Automatism examples are
sleepwalking, dissociation etc

STATUTORY POSITION OF DEFENSE OF INSANITY IN INDIA

Legal insanity is found in section 84 of Indian Penal Code which says; Act of a person of
unsound mind. -- Nothing is an offence which is 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. Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code helps us to
determine whether the accused is legally insane or not. It talks about whether at the time of
commission of the crime the accused was under a defect or any disease of mind or he didnt not
know the nature and quality of the act hes doing.
According to Section 84 are the following factors which are as follows:
AT THE TIME OF DOING: CRUCIAL POINT OF TIME Crucial Point of time at which the

unsoundness of the mind of the accused must be established is the time when the actual crime
was committed,this was held in Kuttappana v State of Kerala6. In the case of State of Madhya
Pradesh v Ahamadulla7 for the accused to use Section 84 as defense of insanity he must prove
that he was suffering from unsoundness of mind as defined in the above section. In the case of
Vidhya Devi v State of Rajasthan8 it was said that the conduct of the accused before the
commission of the crime and after the commission of the crime should also be considered to
figure out the state of the accused during the commission of the crime. After the judgment State
of Madhya Pradesh v Ahamadulla9 it was concluded that the court should only be concerned with
the state of mind of the accused during the commission of crime. So to get the advantage of
Section 84 the accused has to prove that during the commission of crime he had an unsoundness
mind and didnt know the nature and quality of the act he was committing.
There are few cases which deals with the aspect of Section 84 related to the above factor
discussed:
1) Ganga Sing Kali Ram v State10: The accused assaulted a public servant and pleaded
insanity in defense. But it was seen that the accused had mentally disturbances during the
6 (1986) Cr LJ 271 (Ker), Also in the case of Rajan v State of Kerala (1984) Cr LJ 874, Autar v State of Himachal
Pradesh (1984) 1 Crimes 636 (HP)

7 AIR 1961 SC 998

8 (2004) Cr LJ 2332 (Raj) (DB)


9 (1961) 3 SCR 583

year 1979 and then in 1984 and in 1999 he got a discharge certificate. So during the time of
commission of act he wasnt insane this was the reason he wasnt allowed exemption under
Section 84 as according to Section 84 the accused should prove that he was insane during the
commission of the crime not after or the before as they wont be considered for exemption
under Section 84.
2) Krish Dutt V State of HP11: The accused used to visit the deceased who practiced witch
craft. The accusers buffalo stopped giving milk for some reason, he thought that the
deceased has done some witch craft. He challenged the accused and killed him..The accused
was found to be suffering from insanity before and during the commission of crime hence he
was acquitted.
MEANING OF WRONG UNDER SECTION 84 Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
states that: Nothing is an offence which is 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. According to Indian Penal code the wrong
isnt the same as in the MNaghten rules. In MNaghten Rules the wrong specifically talks
about the legal wrong, But according to the Indian Penal Code the wrong indicates moral
wrong. This was first seen in Rambhorse v State of M.P12 in which it section 84 meant moral
wrong not legal wrong.
UNSOUNDNESS OF MIND: The expression unsoundness of the mind is a very broad phrase
which can include almost all the diseases related to the mind. But in the case of Gedka Goala 13, it
was said that the nature and extent of the unsoundness of the mind required being such as would
make the offender incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he is doing what is wrong
or contrary to law. So this sums up the position of unsoundness of mind under the Indian Penal
Code. Now, we can see this in the following cases:

10 2007 CrLJ(NOC)191(UTR)
11 1992 CrLJ 1065 (HP)
12 1974 Jab LJ 348 : 1974 MPLJ 406

13 (1937) 16 Pat 333

The phrase unsoundness of mind was a very broad phrase so in the case Gedka Goala 14 after the
judgment it was concluded that the nature and extent of the unsoundness of the mind required
being such as would make the offender incapable of knowing the nature of the act or what hes
doing is wrong. There are many cases which show the application of unsoundness of mind:
1) Raghu Pradhan v State of Orissa15: In this case the accused killed his wife, his children,
and the police officer. But the evidence showed that he had history of insanity to assault
strangers but his relationship with his wife was cordial. And he was held that he was
unsound mind so he was acquitted.
2) Brushabha Digal v State16: The accused was holding legs of a girl and pulled her to the
road. She sustained head injuries and died in the hospital. It was found that he was
unsound mind so was acquitted
MEANING OF INCAPABLE OF KNOWING THE NATURE OF THE ACT:
If the accused at the time of commission of the act knew that the act was wrong or contrary to
law then he is punishable.17 To illustrate this, the author would like to discuss the case of State of
Maharashtra v Umesh Krishna P, the facts of this case are, the accused, a young man, took a girl
of four years of age on a bi-cycle to a place near a canal, and sexually assaulted her and threw
her into the canal, it was held in this case that the act was a carefully thought out action and not
an act of an insane person and hence the accused was held liable of the crime. So if the accused
knew the nature of the act he would be punished. But if the accused because of the unsoundness
of the mind is not able to know the nature of the act and also is not able to distinguish if the act is
wrong or contrary to the law he would be not punished.

14 (1937) 16 Pat 333


15 1993 Cr LJ 3149 (Ori)

16 1993 Cr LJ 3149 (Ori)


17 Mani Ram, (1926) 8 Lah 114

The phrase Incapable of Knowing the Nature of the Act was seen in the case of Maharashtra v
Umesh Krishna Pawar18,in this case the accused took a four year old girl in a bi-cycle to a place
near the canal, he sexually assaulted her and threw her so the accused was held liable of the
crime. Here there was question which was raised what if the accused was unsound mind and
wouldnt realize the act is doing is right or not. But in the case of Lakshman it was seen that the
accused was insane for prior few months of the crime and things was normal between him and
his wife. But suddenly he one day he killed his wife and didnt care to hide the evidence or run
away. So it held that he had unsound mind and he was acquitted under Section 84 of Indian Penal
Code.

DRAWBACK
The current system of legal insanity in the Indian Penal Code had a lot of drawbacks:
1) According to the Indian law the interpretation of insanity in the Indian Penal Code is very
narrow. This has been seen in many cases,where the accused has some menal disorder but
he doesnt fall under the scope of defense.
2) The moral argument that it is unfair to stigmatize and punish those who did not choose
their actions as a result of unimpaired cognitive process, has come under criticism. Some
criminologists deny that the mentally disordered do not have the capacity to choose their
behavior. They argue that other cases such as social disadvantage, are far more
crimogenic that mental disorder, yet we do not excuse those who are poor or the products
of a broken home
3) Another drawback that has been pointed out is it is very unfair to punish the accuse who
didnt choose on how they are acting. Some criminologists say that the mental disorder
does not have the capacity to choose their behavior.
4) Another drawback was how can the judge who is a layman in terms of deciding whether
the accused is insane or not?
These are few drawback of the interpretation of Section 84 under Indian Penal Code.
18 1994 CrLJ 774 (Bom

CONCLUSION
The defence of insanity is not very clear in criminal law as a defence, thats the reason theres a
difference between legal and medical insanity. The reason behind this difference is in few cases
the defense of insanity a person who is medically insane at the time of commission of the act but
that insanity is caused due to external factors which isnt considered a legal insane person under
Indian Penal Code. Therefore there are too many loopholes in the interpretation of insanity under
IPC as its very narrow and the defense of insanity isnt available to some people even though
they medically insane as the section dont cover those. Another drawback is if an accused is
proved to be legally insane and is acquitted then the court may send him to the mental asylum
but there are many such cases where the person is insane just during the time of committing the
action (hypoglycemia diabetes) sending such person to the mental asylum isnt right. In
MNaghten rules there were criteria for insanity which was decided during the time when there
was no development in the field of medical science, but application of whose rules now isnt
right as there have been a huge growth and development in the field of medical science now. So
it will conclude by saying that the rules and interpretation of Section 84 of the Indian Penal Code
needs to be reformed and instead of making insanity a legal standard it should be cohesion of
both legal and medical insanity.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
The following materials were used as sources to prepare this paper:
I.

BOOKS:
i.

Ratanlal & Dhirajlal, The Indian Penal Code, (32nd ed. 2010),

ii.

David Ormerod, Smith and Hogan Criminal Law (12th ed. 2008),

iii.

Glanville Williams, Text Book of Criminal Law, (2nd ed. 2009),

iv.

1 SK Sarvaria, RA Nelsons Indian Penal Code (10th ed. 2008),

v.

Shamsul Huda, The principles of the Law of Crimes (2011), and


Bryan A. Garner, Blacks Law Dictionary (9th ed. 2010).

vi.

II.

INTERNET RESOURCES:
a. Jstor (http://www.jstor.org/),
b. Manupatra (http://www.manupatrafast.in/pers/Personalized.aspx), and
c. Heinonline (http://www.heinonline.org/HOL/Welcome).