Insanity as a Defence in Law

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INSANITY- A DEFENCE TO CRIMINAL LIABILITY

(Project towards fulfilment of the assessment in the subject of Crime and Punishment)

Submitted By: Submitted To:
Praneetha Vasan Mrs. Sreeparvathy BPSc.LLB (Hons) (Faculty of Law) Roll no- 930 National law University, Jodhpur. IIIrd Semester

National Law University
Summer Session
(July-October 2012)
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I take this opportunity to express my gratitude and personal regards to Mrs. Sreeparvathy Ma’am for inspiring and guiding us during the course of this project work. We also owe our sincere thanks to the library staff, National Law University, for the cooperation and facility extended from time to time during the progress of our project work.

Praneetha Vasan (roll no.930)

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Sl. No.| Topic | Page no.|
1. | Research Methodology| 4.|
2.| Introduction| 5|
3.| Legal Insanity| 6|
4.| Medical insanity| 7|
5.| English Law on Insanity| 9|
6.| Indian Law on Insanity | 11|
7.| Burden of Proof| 14|
8.| Procedure in dealing with persons of Unsound mind| 15| 9.| Conclusion and proposals for reform| 16|
10.| Bibliography| 18|

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
SUBJECT:
Crime and Punishment
AREA:
Defences to Crime
TOPIC:
Insanity- A defence to Criminal Liability
OBJECT:
1. To understand the difference between medical and legal insanity 2. To study the position on law of insanity in England
3. To study the position of law regarding people of “unsound mind” in India 4. To understand the procedure to be followed in case an accused is declared lunatic 5. To compare the laws on unsound mind with the laws of insanity in other countries and figure whether the laws in India can be improved upon.

SOURCES:
Secondary sources of data were used for preparing this project. Sources included various websites, law reports and books by distinct authors.
FOOTNOTING STYLE:
The footnoting style, used throughout the project, is in accordance with the one prescribed by The National Law University,Jodhpur.
INTRODUCTION
A crime is an act committed or omitted in violation of a law forbidding or commanding it and for which punishment is imposed upon conviction. There are certain essentials to be fulfilled for an act to be classified as a crime. The person committing the crime should possess the following conditions: 1. Knowledge that the act is prohibited by the law

2. Intelligence to distinguish between good and evil
3. Free will.
Mens rea is one of the essentials of every criminal liability. A criminal offence is only committed when an act which is forbidden by the law, is done voluntarily. The underlying principle of the doctrine of mens rea is expressed in the familiar Latin maxim term actus non facit reum nisi mens rea- the act does not make one guilty unless the mind is guilty. Insanity or mental abnormality is one of the general exceptions to criminal liability recognised by the IPC. By virtue of the maxim mentioned above, an act is not punishable by the Indian penal code if it is unaccompanied by a guilty mind. The foundation for the law of insanity was laid down by the House of Lords in 1843, in what is popularly known as the McNaughton case. Even the Indian law codified in the Indian Penal code under section 84 is based on the rules laid down in McNaughton case.

LEGAL INSANITY
A person is considered to be insane, if at the time of commission of the offence, as a result of severe mental disease or defect he was unable to appreciate the nature and quality or the wrongfulness of his act.A person on unsound mind, but at the time of the commission of the act knows...
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