Notes- Indian Penal Code( Cases relating Sec. 84)

Prepared by Asisst. Professor Rekha Khandelwal ( Expert of Criminal Law)

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IPC Chapter – IV General Exceptions

Case Law relating to Sec. 84

Chapter IV of Indian Penal Code, 1860 provides following acts which are exempted under the code from criminal liability

Section 84. Act of a person of unsound mind

Case Law:

In Sheralli Wali Mohammed v. State of Maharashtra(1)

It should be proved  that  at the time of the commission of the acts, the appellant was incapable of knowing the nature of the act or the acts were either wrong or  contrary to law. The reason of it was of unsoundness of mind. The question may be asked , Is there evidence to show that he was labouring under any such incapacity at the time of the commission of the offence? On this question, the state of his mind before and after the commission of the offence is relevant.

Brushabha Digal v. State of Orissa,(2)

 The accused caught hold of the legs of a girl of two years of age on the road and struck her on the ground. She sustained head injury and died in the hospital. The accused was acquitted on the ground of insanity. Because there were sufficient ocular evidence about the conduct of the accused at the time of the offence and the opinion of the doctor about his state of mind,

State of Maharashtra V Umesh Krishna power(3)

 Where the accused, a young man, took a girl of 4 years on a bicycle to a lonely place near canal, sexually assaulted her and threw her into the canal, it was held that it was a carefully thought out action and not an act of an insane person. 

State of Rajasthan v. Shera Ram,(4)

In general epilepsy occurs from early infancy, although it may occur at any period of life. Individuals, Who have had epileptic fits for years, do not necessarily show any mental aberration but quite a few of them suffer from mental deterioration. Such patients are peevish, impulsive and the suspicious, and are easily provoked to anger on the slightest cause. Epileptic psychosis is that which is associated with epileptic fits. It  can happen before or after the fits or may replace them and  It is known as pre – epileptic, post – epileptic and masked or psychic phases(Psychomotor epilepsy).

Jagdish V state Of MP (5)

In a case of Ganja addict  before the supreme court, the accused had killed his wife and children ranging one- 16 years with knife. Death sentence was confirmed by the high court. The accused had not raised the defence of unsoundness in courts below. The supreme court got the enquiry conducted by police after a plea was raised at the SLP stage. There is enquiry report and evidence of family members and other witnesses revealed the addiction and ongoing treatment.  He was not allowed the benefit of section 84. The state of mind on the day of the of the incident was the crucial factor. The state of mind on the day of the incident is the crucial factor. The State of mind on other days  is relevant only if such evidence would help determining the state of mind at the crucial moment. 

Dahyabhai Chhaganbhai Thakkar v. State of Gujrat, (6)

 The Supreme Court defined the doctrine of burden of proof in the context of the plea of insanity in the following propositions:

(1.)  The prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that the appellant had committed the offence with the requisite mens rea;  and the burden of proving that always rests on the prosecution ( State)  from the starting to the ending of the trial.

(2.) There is a rebuttable presumption that the appellant was not insane, when he committed the crime, in the sense laid down by section 84 of the IPC, 1860 the appellant may rebut it by placing before the court all the relevant evidence – oral, documentory or circumstantial, but the burden of proof upon him is no higher than that rests upon a party to civil proceedings.

(3.) Even if the appellant was not able to establish conclusively that he was insane at the time he committed the offence, the evidence placed before the court, a reasonable doubt may be raised in the mind of the court by the appellant or  prosecution  as regards one or more of the ingredients of the offence, including mens rea of the appellant and in that case the court would be entitled to acquit the appellant on the ground that the general burden of proof resting on the prosecution was not discharged.

Shibu v. State of Kerala,(7)

The Division Bench of High Court of Kerala observed that even if all the acts constituting an offence as per definition in IPC, 1860 are committed by a person, if an IPO finds during investigation that accused was incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that he was doing what is either wrong or contrary to law due to unsoundness of mind, as stated in Section 84 IPC, 1860, he shall not file a charge-sheet against such person.

(1) 1972 crlj 1523 

(2) 1993 CrLJ 3149(Ori.)

(3) 1994 CrLJ 774 Bom.

(4) AIR 2012 SC 1 

(5) 2009 9 SCC 495 

(6) AIR 1964 SC 1563

(7) 2013 (4) KLJ 300

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