HC sets aside conviction and sentence of man suffering from paranoid schizophrenia

Taking into account the fact that a man convicted and sentenced by a trial court in Tiruchi for the offence of murdering his father was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday set aside the conviction.

The man, an engineering graduate from Tiruchi, was unemployed and living with his parents following a matrimonial dispute with his wife. He used to frequently quarrel with his father as he was reprimanded for sitting idle at home.

In 2015, following a quarrel, the man threw a grinding stone on his father and left home. The other family members found the man’s father dead. Tiruchi Principal Sessions Judge sentenced him to life imprisonment for murder. He filed an appeal.

A Division Bench of Justices S. Vaidyanathan and G. Jayachandran took note of the fact that the man was suffering from paranoid and persecutory delusions since 2004 as per medical records. He was also receiving treatment for the same.

The judges said that the man was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia at the time of the occurrence and even according to the prosecution, he had not fled or absconded, but was sleeping in a bus stand. When he was arrested, he was not in a right orientation of mind.

Under Section 328 (1) of CrPC, the Judicial Magistrate ought to have conducted an inquiry regarding the mental health of the accused person and pending inquiry the accused could have been treated in accordance with the provisions of Section 330 of CrPC.

From the case records, neither the Judicial Magistrate nor the trial court had followed this procedure in letter and spirit. The trial court for want of supporting documents disbelieved that the man was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, the judges said.

In terms of Section 105 (Burden of proving that case of accused comes within exceptions) of the Indian Evidence Act, the accused clearly discharged his onus through medical evidence to avail the benefit of Section 84 (Act of a person of unsound mind) of IPC, the court said.

The court said that the man was entitled for protection under Section 84 of IPC and set aside the conviction and sentence. The counsel for the appellant told the court that the man’s wife was providing care and support to him. The court said that in the light of Section 335 of CrPC, the custody of the appellant shall be given to the wife.

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Printable version | May 19, 2022 6:18:55 am |